Tennis: Five facts about Grigor Dimitrov, winner of the 2017 ATP Finals

Grigor Dimitrov celebrating with the trophy after winning the ATP Finals, on Nov 19, 2017.
Grigor Dimitrov celebrating with the trophy after winning the ATP Finals, on Nov 19, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Grigor Dimitrov made history on Sunday (Nov 20) after defeating David Goffin to win the ATP World Tour Finals in London. Dimitrov, 26, is the first Bulgarian to qualify for the season-ending tournament and will rise to a career-high world ranking of No. 3.

1. 'Baby Fed' nickname

Dimitrov earned his 'Baby Fed' nickname early in his career, as his one-handed backhand and service motion were similar to that of 19-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer. It was a label that had appeared to burden Dimitrov in the past - after beating defending champion Andy Murray en route to his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon in 2014, Dimitrov fell short of reaching the quarter-finals at the next nine Majors. After last week, however, Dimitrov has insisted that the comparisons to Federer no longer matter.

2. Two of his biggest career titles were won in 2017

Dimitrov's victory in London caps off his best season to date, after winning his first Masters 1000 title at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati in August and reaching his second Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open. The ATP World Tour Masters 1000 is the third-highest tier on the men's circuit, after the four Grand Slams and the ATP World Tour Finals. The 2008 junior Wimbledon champion also won two other titles this year: the Brisbane International in January, which ended a 2 1/2 year title drought, and February's Sofia Open in his native Bulgaria.

3. Personal life

Dimitrov dated former women's world No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova for two years. He is now dating former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, who previously dated Formula One star Lewis Hamilton.

 

4. On-court versatility and off-court talent

In 2014, a year after winning his first ATP title, Dimitrov won three titles on three different surfaces: the Mexican Open in Acapulco (hard court), the Romanian Open in Bucharest (clay) and the Aegon Championships in London (grass).

Off the court, Dimitrov displayed his singing talent earlier this year. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March, Federer tweeted a video of himself, Dimitrov and fellow pro Tommy Haas performing their rendition of Chicago's Hard To Say I'm Sorry, while musician David Foster played the piano. The trio even gave themselves a name - the One-handed Backhand Boys.

5. Sporting family

Sport runs in Dimitrov's blood. His father Dimitar is a tennis coach, while mother Maria was a volleyball player. Dimitrov has no siblings.