Dimitrov wants more grand slam glory after losing Nadal thriller

By Matthew Scott 27 January 2017 203
Dimitrov wants more grand slam glory after losing Nadal thriller

Grigor Dimitrov is determined to maintain momentum after a run to the Australian Open semi-finals, where he was beaten by an inspired Rafael Nadal.

After almost five hours on court at Rod Laver Arena, Nadal emerged a 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 victor to book a dream final against long-time rival Roger Federer.

Dimitrov has often struggled to live up to the 'baby-Fed' tag he was given due to a similar playing style to the Swiss master - this is just his second run to the final four of a major following Wimbledon in 2014.

The Bulgarian was five points away from the final at 40-15 4-3 up on the Nadal serve in the decider, only for the Spaniard to reel off four straight points to hold and then break Dimitrov immediately.

"It's what the greatest players do," Dimitrov surmised afterwards.

"It's never easy to lose a match like that. I'm happy, though, with a lot of things. I'm going to stay positive and keep my head up high.

"For sure, Rafa deserves pretty much all the credit right now since he's such a fighter, such a competitor. At the same time it was an honour for me to play a match like that against him. It also shows me that I'm in a good way. I'm on the right path.

"I'm just trying to take all the positives out of this month in Australia. I'm sure I'm going to look back at that match and see what I could have done better.

"But at least one thing I can say is that I left it all out on the court. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of my team, proud of my coach. Everyone that has taken care of me that month, it's been super intense. We can relax for a little bit now and get back to work.

"I had a super experience with that player, in the face of Rafa. As I said he really showed why he's Rafa."

Dimitrov was asked to predict a winner between the 17-time and 14-time grand slam winners, but he is just intent on enjoying a battle for the ages.

"We've seen all kind of scenarios in the past when those two are playing," he said. 

"It's not a place for me to comment on that, to be honest. I just know that two of the greatest players of tennis are going to square off on Sunday, and it's going to be a freakin' amazing match."

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Matthew Scott