Dimitrov Seeks Lessons From Nadal Loss

Grigor Dimitrov has a lot going for him. He is the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion and sits inside the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings. The Bulgarian also made the semi-finals this week at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

But that doesn’t make an 11th FedEx ATP Head2Head loss against World No. 1 Rafael Nadal (1-11) any easier.

“I value sometimes more the lessons. I hate losing,” Dimitrov said. “You see me with a smile. I’m a positive person. Deep down, I’m hurt. I hate losing. Simple as that. But it’s life… hopefully in the future I will be able to turn that around. There’s still going to come a day that I feel I can do that or beat him on that surface.”

Interestingly, the World No. 5 has won a set in eight of his 11 losses against the Spaniard. But on Saturday, Dimitrov was broken four times and lost eight of the match’s final nine games to lose 6-4, 6-1.

“I’m sure when I come back home, I’ll be just as mad. I’ll think about it. I will probably write down things I could have done better. I’ll write things that I’m grateful for. I will write some goals down in the next three, four days that I have to do, and move on,” Dimitrov said. “That’s all you can do: control what you can, let the rest happen.”

After all, it was not a bad week for the 26-year-old. It was actually quite good, as Dimitrov reached the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo for the first time, surviving two tough three-setters to open the tournament before ousting World No. 10 and doubles partner David Goffin in an impressive straight-sets performance Friday in the quarter-finals.

“It was great to start [the clay-court season] again on a good note. I mean, today was also maybe the match that I moved the best out of everything,” Dimitrov said. “I see a lot of positives for the upcoming weeks.”

It just so happened that he came across Nadal, who has now won 34 consecutive sets on clay as he pursues a record 11th Monte-Carlo title.

“He’s playing very good on clay. Simple as that. Tactically and everything else. It hurts a lot of us,” Dimitrov said. “I felt I played not a bad match against him in terms of the way I was moving and the way I was placing the ball. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep on doing that for the extent that I had to.”

Now, Dimitrov will move on to the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, where he is the second seed next week.

“I’m ready for Barcelona,” Dimitrov said. “This is my goal: to get back on that rhythm of playing a lot of matches, practising a lot. Again, the clay-court season has just begun. It’s a good step forward now. Hopefully there’s still a lot of matches to be played.”

Our partners