In a recent interview with fellow professional Alize Lim in the series Major Talk, three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov talked about Swiss legend Roger Federer.
In the snippet from the half an hour-long interview, Lim and Dimitrov chatted about people comparing Dimitrov with Federer. The Bulgarian has been nicknamed “Baby Federer” by people due to his similar serve and style to the Swiss.
“I had to change my serve…the person who helped me was a big fan of Roger…then eventually the similar serve came along and the similarity came across,” Dimitrov said.
Commenting on a question about the nickname, Dimitrov revealed that though he had appreciated the nickname initially, he eventually came to resent it would always cause him to remain in the shadow of the legend. He then took an oath that he would work hard on his game and prove that both are completely different players, and was relieved when his hard work paid off and the nickname died.
“I appreciated it (the nickname) at the begining….there were times when I started resenting the people using the nickname,” he said.
Dimitrov on differences between him and Federer
On a question from Lim about how the both are different, the world number 28 said that they were polar opposite personalities, as Federer was a rebel in his younger days while he is quieter. The Bulgarian also observed that Federer’s game is much more aggressive than his at times, while the shot selections and decision-making is also vastly different.
” I had to change my serve…the person who helped me was a big fan of Roger…then eventually the similar serve came along and the similarity came across.”
“Firstly, our decision making, for example he is much more aggressive in certain situations….our characters are also polar opposites.”
He went on to heap praise on Federer, branding him as a perfect role model and an inspiration to many current and upcoming tennis players
Federer’s advice to Dimitrov
On being asked if he had received any advice from the legend, the former world number 3 replied by saying that he had received many. However, the one piece of advice that stood out was before the semi-final match against Rafael Nadal in the 2017 Australian Open. Though he went on to lose to the Spaniard, Dimitrov revealed that it was the best advice he’d ever received and that he would always remember it.
“Quite a few (pieces of advice), but one of the best advice he gave me was after I played that match against Rafael Nadal in Australia,” he concluded.