People say Grigor Dimitrov plays like Federer, but that’s far from the truth. He looks like Federer. However, every shot he possesses is inferior compared to Federer. His serve placement is not that precise, his shot selection is terrible, and he tends to be passive at times during rallies. I will give Grigor credit for his speed and movement around the court, however, but that’s only because Federer is 10 years removed from his prime. Basically, he doesn’t have a killer shot or a killer instinct like the top 5 players.
Why Grigor Dimitrov is not a Top 5 Player
He’s been trying to develop that one big weapon, but I agree with this. He’s mentally not as strong and tends to still be scarred from previous losses. It’s a shame because when he is on form, he’s a terrifying player.
His SF vs Nadal is probably why Federer won this year’s AO. He was really aggressive off both wings, particularly the one-handed backhand, which was weird to see with Nadal who just has owned Federer by breaking down that wing. Federer had the luxury of seeing how a lesser version of himself put Nadal on the back foot in that match and executed a similar game plan in the final.
The issue Grigor and most of these next-gen players outside the Big Four have is that, while they can regularly put a scare into the big guns and even beat them on good days, they tend to fall against supposedly lesser opponents far too often. That is one of Federer’s greatest pluses to me – throughout his career, if you were a player outside the top 10, he’s routinely put those players away more than any of the other elite players, which speaks to being able to persevere even on off days when you shot/serve isn’t working as usual (like last week for instance, he was off form all week, but still beat the guys in front of him til the final). You get the feeling with guys like Grigor or Kyrgios that if they’re not playing well on a given day, they will partially implode mentally independently of the opponent.
Grigor is a jack of all trades but a master of none. Aside from his movement pretty much every aspect of his game is very good but not great. His shots are good but very inconsistent. So are his performances during tournaments. He can’t maintain a high enough level for very long. That’s the difference to say Federer who almost always brings his A game. Dimitrov should probably do some mental work which he won’t since he dismisses sports psychology and that sort of stuff.
He is always on his skates, way more than other players. A lot of the times, he doesn’t set up well for his shots and to get out of this, sometimes he cranks the ball as hard as possible, and when he doesn’t crank the ball hard, it’s a softie right to the strike zone of his opponent. But the most annoying is that he has no strategy, he never tries to exploit a weakness and instead just puts in a variety of shots for the sake of it.
An example will be when he played Nadal at the Aussie Open. He hit an impressive a couple of impressive shots deep with angle to Nadal’s backhand and had Nadal hooked, now instead of hitting on clear space on the forehand side, he kept thinking he was fucking Socrates by hitting the same type of ball to Nadal’s backhand, thinking he was going to wrong foot him. Now the first few balls, Nadal had to stretch and looked like he was in real danger, but by the fourth shot, Nadal just recovered a little bit and hit an angled winner at Dimitrov’s expense.