One of Australia’s most anticipated sporting spectacles is officially here: The 2019 Australian Open. Amid the commotion of the highly regarded Grand Slam tennis tournament, the Man of Style team were fortunate enough to speak with the current World No. 21, Grigor Dimitrov.
Formerly World No.3 in 2017, the Bulgarian champ – and Häagen-Dazs global ambassador – took time out of his busy Aus Open schedule to chat with us on all things tennis, style and ice-cream.
2018 was a difficult year for Grigor Dimitrov. Falling from a top 3 placement on the professional men’s tour due to struggling form and minor injuries would be hard to fathom, but it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the 27-year old.
“It wasn’t the year I was expecting, but I definitely learnt a lot both on and off the court; about my game, myself and the people around me,” says Grigor Dimitrov.
“As a professional athlete, and even as an everyday individual, you are bound to face adversity. There are hurdles you must face as an athlete, both physically and mentally. It was a disappointing year in terms of my on-court performance, but I don’t see 2018 in a negative light.”
Trying to avoid last year’s performance, Dimitrov is not only in peak physical form, but he is mentally strong as well; an aspect that is pivotal in the gruelling game of tennis.
“I always strive to be in the best physical and mental form as humanly possible. I eat well, I rest well, I sleep well, and I’m either working out or meditating on my off-days,” explains Dimitrov.
“It’s the simple things that make a big difference in my game, so for me, it’s about being productive on a daily basis.”
Once hailed as ‘Baby Fed’, a coined nickname Dimitrov wishes to forget, the Bulgarian’s style of gameplay was compared to that of Roger Federer, due to his flexibility and ability to play on all parts of the court.
Renowned for his hustle, athleticism, fluid style of play and strong forehand, Dimitrov has cemented his own style in the game, however, and remains not only one of the most exciting players to watch on-court, but a serious contender to one day reaching a No.1 seeding.
“I’m really excited for this year’s Aus Open tournament. I’ve proven myself to play and beat the big players, but the way I see it, it’s all about beating one guy 7 times; taking one game at a time,” says Dimitrov.
“The best thing I can do is to focus on my side of the court and really go out there and play the best tennis every match. I assess the situation and give it 100%; I know who I am and how I can perform, and this year’s [Aus Open] tournament is no different.”
With a strong performance at the Brisbane International, and a great start to his Aus Open campaign defeating Janko Tipsarević in the first round, Dimitrov is set to put on a show for his strong fan base, doing so with a new coach in his corner.
As of late last year, Dimitrov appointed the highly esteemed tennis great Andre Agassi to help with his on-court performance.
Since partnering, the duo have established a great working relationship which is proving to favour Dimitrov’s gameplay.
“I wish I could put into words the relationship I have with Andre. He’s a spectacular guy, and has been one of my biggest supporters since I was about 13 or 14 years old,” says Dimitrov.
“We have been working and focusing on the small details in my game, which is what it’s all about. It’s nice to work with someone who has experienced the highs and lows as a professional athlete, and I feel that I have already learnt so much from him [Agassi].”
And when Dimitrov isn’t on the court practising for a Grand Slam or battling it out against the world’s best, he’s either driving fast cars, collecting designer sneakers or enjoying a tub of Salted Caramel Häagen-Dazs; one of few indulges he’s able to enjoy during the tennis season.
“Away from tennis, I like to keep it pretty simple; I drive fast cars and I enjoy eating Häagen-Dazs ice-cream whilst watching TV,”says Dimitrov.
On his global ambassadorship with the iconic ice-cream brand, Dimitrov says it’s always been a dream for him to partner with Häagen-Dazs.
“They have been tremendous supporters of my tennis over the years, so it was only natural to partner with them for the Australian Open.”
“I like to keep things simple, and with their [Häagen-Dazs] help, we’re doing a great job together; both on and off the court.”
Keeping things simple in the fashion department, however, is all but true for the stylish Bulgarian. With a collection of over 100 designer sneakers, from Off White to Yeezy, to having an affinity for clothing by Rick Owens, it’s clear to see why Dimitrov resonates with a wide range of people; both in the tennis world and away from it.
“My style is something I don’t necessarily think about too much, but my mood definitely reflects how I dress. For example, at times I can wear the most sophisticated clothes but then other times I’ll go full bohemian and wear oversized staples,” says Dimitrov.
“I think the most important thing is to dress for you; wear what you want and for how you wish to see yourself.”
Dimitrov will play World No.94 Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay on Wednesday 16 January in the round of 64 of The Australian Open.
Photography credit: Karon Photography