Dimitrov and the lost gen

Grigor Dimitrov seems to have found the fountain of youth. Or a really great elixir to add to his electrolytes.

He’s currently in the middle of an astonishing resurgence that’s propelled him 24 spots in the rankings over the past 11 months. And he’s back in the Top 10 for the first time in 10 years.

Since October, he’s tussled in a Masters 1000 semi and final, added the Brisbane ATP 250 title to his collection and followed it up with a final berth at the Miami Open. He’s 20-25 in 2024.

As the clay court season rolls around, can he keep the momentum going and close in on the Top 5? Or maybe even snag the major that’s missing from his trophy case?

Photo: Nicolas Gouhier/FFT

Often tapped for Grand Slam wins, Dimitrov got as far as the final at Wimbledon 2014 and World No.9. Three years later, he rose to No.3 after making it to the final of the season-ending championship in London.

Grigor, Milos, Kei

About 10 years ago, Grigor was the youngest of the next gen and regarded as a possible successor to the Big Three who alternately held sway over the Slams and the World No.1 ranking for 18 long years.

Photo – Metro.co.uk

In the roughly 940 weeks from February 2, 2004, to February 27, 2022, only Andy Murray usurped the throne for 41 straight.

Ironically, Dimitrov earned the nickname Baby Fed early on in his career owing to his one-handed backhand that looks a lot like you-know-who’s. He and his contemporaries, namely Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori, were part of what’s since been dubbed the lost generation.

Photo: AP

And there are others, including Juan Martin Del Potro and Marin Cilic who managed the rare feat of winning a Slam. As for the No.1 ranking, neither Dimitrov nor any of the five born between 1988 and 1983 ever rose higher than No.3.

Career high No.3s

Player                  Year of birth       Year he reached No.3

Del Potro            (1988)                 2018

Cilic                     (1988)                 2018

Nishikori             (1989)                 2015/2016/2017

Raonic  (             1990)                   2016/2017

Dimitrov             (1991)                 2017/2018

Thiem                 (1993)                 2020 / 2021

And what about the Next Gen for whom the ATP created a dedicated U21 year-end tournament in 2017?

Only Daniil Medvedev has ascended to the top spot. Zverev, Tsitsipas, Ruud, Rublev, Fritz, Hurkacz and Sinner are still trying to make it happen. Jannik may be the most likely to climb to No.1, but the 22-year-old seems to be part of yet another generation with the likes of Alcaraz and Rune, who are both 20 years old, and Ben Shelton who’s 21.

At the NBO

Fans in Montréal can expect to run into Grigor Dimitrov at this summer’s National Bank Open at IGA Stadium.

Photo: Tennis Canada

In 2022, he got as far as the second round with a win over local favourite Alexis Galarneau. Showing some surprising resistance and with the crowd firmly behind him, the Quebecer gave Dimitrov a run for his money but ultimately fell 6-4, 7-5.

Успех, Григор!

(Good luck, Grigor!)

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