He has been called the next "Roger Federer" on several occasions, and girls of all ages noticed him right away for his charming good looks and wavy locks, calling him the Justin Bieber of the tennis world.
One year ago, Grigor Dimitrov was the 325th-ranked player in the world. Then the 20-year-old Bulgarian switched to Wilson tennis racquets.
Now, he's the 64th-ranked player in the world, and this year he's scored wins over No. 38 Andrey Golubev and No. 25 Marcos Baghdatis, as well as making his first quarterfinal in Munich in April and winning a Challenger tournament in Cherbourg. He is also winning the hearts of his female fans, including my own.
Tennis Now got the opportunity to get up close and personal with the tennis hunk, asking him a few questions prior to Roland Garros.
TN: What are your goals for the next year? What type of training will you be doing in the offseason to get there?
Dimitrov: "My goal every year is to be better than the previous year and to get to where I have not yet got to. I have not decided yet, but I will be aiming to be near the seaside because that is where I am able to prepare myself the most mentally and fiscally." He adds with a cheeky giggle, "Part of my mental training will be playing angry birds without smacking my iPad."
TN: What tournament would you like to win the most and why?
Dimitrov: "Wimbledon. Reason being I won it as a junior, and for me it's the heart of tennis."
Because of his results and his success as a junior player in winning the Wimbledon junior championships in 2008, he is considered one of the tour's up-and-coming players who could have an impact at this year's French Open.
TN: Did you idolize any players growing up?
Dimitrov: "[Pete] Sampras and Federer."
In fact, people draw comparisons between Dimitrov and his idol, Roger Federer, because of his all-court game, one-handed backhand, ability to play well on all surfaces and now his equipment: Both men use the Wilson Six.One Tour BLX. Don't confuse the two, however, because Grigor is no Robin/Bieber to Federer's Batman/Usher. He is known for a passionate style of play and showing his emotions on the court.
He is his own man with his own style on and off the court. Born in Haskovo, Bulgaria, he lives in Paris, loves bikes and hip-hop music (loves Lil Wayne) and has been skydiving, and Alexander McQueen is his favorite designer.
As his ranking has increased, Dimitrov is also becoming known for his good looks as well his fun personality.
He recalls a funny and memorable time on the court.
TN: What's the most interesting or funny experience you've had on the tour?
Dimitrov: "Three weeks ago I was playing a Challenger in Prague, and I made the best shot of my career so far. I hit a forehand approach inside out, I ran towards the net and my opponent hit the ball directly at me and as I was running I hit the ball behind my back making it a winner in the opposite side. One to remember. "
In a Wilson player + expert video, he plays tennis with two deejays and then has his turn at the turn table.
He does so well that the two deejays kick him off, saying they don't want him to take their jobs.
This year alone he has traveled to Melbourne, Rotterdam, Marseille, Dubai, Cherbourg, Sarajevo, Miami, Houston, Barcelona, Munich, Prague, Nice and now Paris for tennis alone. He embraces the travel to blow kisses to his adoring fans (okay, so maybe I added the last bit).
TN: What do you like about traveling around the world almost every week? Dislike?
Dimitrov: "Gives you a chance to explore different cities to embrace different cultures. It's a great chance to broaden your perspective about the world. Definitely, I would say hanging around the airports is what I dislike the most."
This is his first French Open and he plays Jeremy Chardy of France in the first round. If he wins, he could face 18th-seeded and former top-10 player Gilles Simon in the second round.
This year he is 3-4 on the clay courts. He is fearless when it comes to opponents.
TN: Who has been your toughest opponent and why?
Dimitrov: "I have had a lot of tough opponents; no one in particular yet."
He currently plays with the Wilson Six.One Tour BLX tennis racquet.
TN: Do you change your string tension or racquet weighting when you move from hard courts to clay courts? Why?
Dimitrov: "Yes. I change the string tension when going from hard courts to clay because of the balls and all other factors, but I never change my racket weight because it is not good for me."
He is part of Wilson's Next Gen campaign. Be sure to watch out for him on the clay. He is to play on Tuesday or Wednesday! Ladies, get ready to watch your heart go pitty-pat, and gentlemen, get ready for the next up-and-comer!
See the full article here: Tennis Now
Lauren Lynch is a correspondent for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!