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Following in Federer's footsteps

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Chris Bevan | 10:17 UK time, Monday, 20 December 2010

Handling the hype is part of the job for any talented young tennis player but being labelled 'the new Roger Federer' and touted as the next big thing in the men's game means Grigor Dimitrov has more to deal with than most.

Why all the attention? Well, in a sport desperate for new blood to challenge the established order - the same four players began and ended the year at the top of the ATP rankings, and only three men other than Federer or Rafael Nadal have won a single Grand Slam since the start of 2005 - the 19-year-old Bulgarian is widely seen as potentially the next big star of a new generation of tennis talent.

Dimitrov's burgeoning reputation is down to his rapid rise from outside the top 350 to the fringes of the top 100 in the world over the last six months, and the clutch of Futures and Challenger events he won on the way to becoming the world's top-ranked male teenager at the end of 2010.

And the resemblance to Federer, who incidentally has been his idol since childhood, is easy to see too. On court, they share the same sweeping single-handed backhand, exciting attacking game and even a trademark bandana.

Off it, their professional careers were both launched by the same coach, Peter Lundgren, who says Dimitrov is the more talented. No pressure there then.

Dimitrov's playing style is reminiscent of his hero, and he dresses alike too

Dimitrov's playing style is reminiscent of his hero, and they dress alike too Photo: Getty Images

So, how does it feel to be seen as the successor to your hero? "There are worse things to be called!" Dimitrov, who is fluent in English and as articulate as he is amiable, told me last week from Dubai, where he was relaxing at the end of an eventful year.

"Of course it is nice to hear it, and all these other things, but there is only one reaction I can really give: I am the number 106 in the world, and Federer is the best tennis player alive. It is very hard for me to compare us in any other way.

"I loved watching Roger when I was growing up, and I still watch him when I can, no matter what, because you can learn so much. Of course there are some similarities with how we play, with my backhand and serve, but I never aimed for that, because my father taught me how to play tennis and everything came quite naturally to me.

"I've met Roger a few times but I have not really spoken to him properly yet, just to say things like 'how are you' or 'good luck' but nothing more. It is tough to get near to players like that, because I haven't been at many tournaments with him yet."

Dimitrov is pretty confident that will change in the next few months. He thinks tennis is "a simple game for intelligent people" and has set himself a clear target: "I believe I can be number one. That's my goal."

But he certainly isn't taking it for granted that he is destined for the top, because he has made that mistake before.

Those comparisons with the Swiss supremo first cropped up during Dimitrov's time as the junior world number one in 2008, after he collected the boys' titles at Wimbledon and the US Open at the age of 17.

That was expected to be the launchpad for an immediate assault on the big guns of men's Tour, especially after an impressive start to his professional career at the start of 2009 that saw him beat Tomas Berdych and take Nadal to three sets. But Dimitrov's progress soon faltered.

Looking back now, he knows why he initially found the transition from junior star to the main circuit so hard to make. "I had two great matches against Tomas and Rafa, and I thought everything was said and done to go and join the big guys," he explained. "But that is one of the tricky things about the game that you have to learn - how to play well over and over again, not just once or twice.

"It is completely different to being in a boy's tournament. You are up against men who know how to play you because they have been there before and they know every match situation. Of course you can beat a player once but you have to keep doing it, and it is a different kind of tennis too. The momentum of every match is different. It's not until you start playing them that you understand."

The expectation that accompanied his junior accomplishments increased the pressure on Dimitrov too, but he admits his attitude wasn't all it could have been.

"I got a bit lackadaisical," he said. "I didn't ease off but I kind of took a breath, which is the worst thing you can do. You have to do the opposite when you make that step up; work harder and breathe less. I let myself down a bit."

Dimitrov was a junior Wimbledon champion

Dimitrov was a junior Wimbledon champion Photo: Getty Images

A few niggling injuries added to Dimitrov's frustration and, with his ranking stuck in the mid 300s, it appeared his promising career might be drifting. As he found out, potential does not win you many prizes in the cruel world of the ATP Tour - for every Federer or Stefan Edberg, who collected men's Grand Slams to go with their junior titles, there is a Martin Lee - the Briton who topped the boys' rankings in the mid 1990s but did not get above number 94 as a man.

So, what changed for Dimitrov to spark the dramatic upturn in his fortunes? Firstly, it was his coach. Peter McNamara replaced Lundgren in June, and sparked a remarkable run that saw 49 wins and only 13 defeats in the remainder of the year.

Dimitrov says he learned a lot from Lundgren and leaving him was not an easy decision, but it has certainly paid off. He is reluctant to discuss exactly what McNamara has got him doing differently but hinted it is his mental approach where the improvements have been made.

"He definitely hasn't tried to alter my game," Dimitrov laughs. "That was not the main issue! We have tried to work on my consistency and the details that shape the whole picture. We have our way of working, but we have to keep that private, right? We have had such a great start and we are going to carry on in the same way."

McNamara might be the man who has got Dimitrov focused and firing on all cylinders but it is still his father, Dimitar, a tennis coach back in Bulgaria, who he consults if he has a problem with any of his shots.

"I always call my dad when I need him, whether it is during a tournament or other times when I need some details regarding my technique because he was the one who showed me everything," Dimitrov added.

"I was three when I picked up a racquet properly for the first time and five when I started playing every day. That became my work, my life, my love."

He also continues to count on the Patrick Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris for support. Dimitrov moved there when he was 16, after two years in Barcelona working with Andy Murray's old coach Pato Alvarez, who remains a big influence too.

"I had to grow up very quickly when I went to Spain at 14," Dimitrov stated. "It is tough when you are living on your own and learning everything yourself. But it was good for me, actually - I figured a lot of things out myself and made my own decisions. I got through a lot of difficult times."

The last six months haven't been completely plain sailing either. Dimitrov had an off-court altercation with umpire Daniel Infanger in Helsinki at the end of November after losing to Ricardo Berankis in the semi-finals of his last tournament of 2010, landing himself a 2,000 euro fine and the threat of a suspension.

A clearly contrite Dimitrov did not try to make any excuses for his behaviour when I brought the incident up. "I made a mistake and I am learning from it," he said. "I have apologised to all the people - I have written to everyone involved, admitting I made a mistake and it won't happen again. Now I have moved on and I am looking forward to 2011."

It promises to be an exciting year. Dimitrov says his first goal for the next 12 months is staying injury free but the plan for the man nicknamed 'G-Force' is to maintain the recent momentum he has built up as he tests himself at a higher level.

From January, he will start playing on the ATP World Tour, a big step up from those Challenger events he has been cleaning up at, and Grand Slams are beckoning too - his current ranking is good enough to earn him direct entry into the Australian Open at the end of that month.

It is all part of the learning curve as far as Dimitrov is concerned, and he is looking forward to the next stage of his career. "Progress comes from playing more of those bigger tournaments, and maturing on court," he explained. "I might need a few years to figure things out but you learn from all the good players you are watching around you too - it will be a very interesting time."

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Will believe it when I see it. Similar hype a year ago about him and nothing happened. Probably are a bunch of youngsters out there with the same natural talent for the game as a Federer and a Nadal. Talent isn't everything.

  • Comment number 2.

    Dimitrov is already more talented than Nadal and Murray for me. Just needs the physical side of his game to improve and he will end Nadal's career!

  • Comment number 3.

    Almost certsainly will need to work on strength and fitness. Grand slam and masters events require a lot more stamina and consistency than challengers. Will see if he wins a few matches this year, but I doubt he breaks through for another year or two. Roger didn't win everything at 19 either.

  • Comment number 4.

    Interesting one this kid, the new Gasquet or the new Federer? The fact that Nadal, Djokovic and Murray were all in the top 10 as teenagers is even more impressive when you consider the sticking points of a kid like Dimitrov. He's still playing Futures and Challengers so he's got a bit of climbing to do yet, but surely the best hope for a breakout star of 2011, who else is coming up?

  • Comment number 5.

    Nice post, Chris. Good to read about this up-and-comer -- very exciting stuff. Looks like the quartet at the top need to remain sharp.

  • Comment number 6.

    Will believe it when I see it. Similar hype a year ago about him and nothing happened. Probably are a bunch of youngsters out there with the same natural talent for the game as a Federer and a Nadal. Talent isn't everything.

    So true. Seen so many talented players not make it because they're not willing to put the effort in. Hard work and dedication is what seperates the best from the rest. It's no coincidence that Federer and Nadal are the two fittest players around.

  • Comment number 7.

    Comparing to great one, has/ will certainly put a lot of pressure on him..

  • Comment number 8.

    I like the guy Alexander Dolgopolov and to see how far he can go in 2011 and beyond, but I am looking at this year being his break out year to win an ATP tourney. The same thing was said of Gael Monfils, but he has not lived up to the hype of teenager sensation, even with all his athleticsm, still only a top 20 player with no really push for a slam as yet. From what I hear from this youngster Dimitrov, and his early injuries. I am not too sure how he will fair when the big tournies and work ethic is required for a full ATP tour, he will need to be as fit as possible.

  • Comment number 9.

    i doubt he will make it he has been hyped since he was 17 and done literally done nothing,talent is atlent you need it but it is inbetween the ears which makes a great tennis player,sportsman

  • Comment number 10.

    Ryan Harrison to break into the top 50 & Jason Kubler to break into top 200 and both will progress to top 10 in 3 years maximum, I follow tennis for my job and betting people should keep their eyes on these 2 players in 2011

  • Comment number 11.

    watch for Alexandr Dolgopolov took Tsonga to 5 in wimbledon and has a huge serve

  • Comment number 12.

    Haha....I have been hearing this for two years now. He has not even made it to top 100 yet. Truth is I don't see him as a challenge to anyone, this year, next year or ten years from now.

  • Comment number 13.

    Cheers, don't know too much about Dolgopolov, I'll keep an eye out. What about the the likes of Bernard Tomic or Jack Sock (I'm influenced by reading English language media I think), I'm desperate to see a couple of newbies sniffing around the big events.

  • Comment number 14.

    We just have to wait and see, he just about has a ranking to get into the less popular 250s and the slams, what he does there is important, and then we will be able to see. It will be a good achievement for him to braeak into the top 100 because people have thought that for 3 years.

  • Comment number 15.

    Tell us something we don't know!

    Using a Wilson Tour and wearing a Nike bandana does not constitute a Federer style career.

  • Comment number 16.

    "Using a Wilson Tour and wearing a Nike bandana does not constitute a Federer style career."..

    ..also a single handed backhand is more a hindrance in the modern game. No point making a comparison out of what is really Federer's weakness. It would be more relevant to know whether he has a comparable forehand to Federer's - in my view the greatest shot in the history of the game.

    Having said that, can't knock him for the way he interviews and does seems to know where he is coming up short. Decent maturity.. unlike some of the spoilt brats out there (cough* Gulbis).

  • Comment number 17.

    15. At 6:13pm on 20 Dec 2010, Chris wrote:
    Tell us something we don't know!

    Using a Wilson Tour and wearing a Nike bandana does not constitute a Federer style career.


    Have you seen this guy play, Chris, or is it just easyer to be negative?
    Buy the way, does it make any difference witch racket does Murray use?

    Keep the good work, Grisho!!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Also, Chris, ironically it is Adidas bandana and a Head.

  • Comment number 19.

    "..also a single handed backhand is more a hindrance in the modern game. "

    I hear it said but see no evidence. Is Federer's backhand inferior to Nadal's? Did it hinder him from becoming the best player in history? How did a one-handed backhand hinder Sampras? Isn't Gasquet's backhand the best in the game? I've been hearing about the supeiority of the ugly two-handed backhand for twenty years now, but where's the beef?

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Not to be too sarcastic but the genius who is disparaging Nadal's talent and suggesting that Dimitrov will cause him to retire,. Nuff said. probably doesn't know about his nine slams at 24 (youngest ever) career slam at 24 (also youngest ever) Olympic Gold Medal (Federer, who is a great player, doesn't have one) and the fact that he is the all time leader in Master's 1000 events

  • Comment number 22.

    #19

    First of all with respect to Federer's backhand, I said that it is a weakness of his.. otherwise he wouldn't run around his backhand as often as he does! (He'll probably admit as much). I made no remark about his specific backhand being a hindrance to his achievements. As I've said, it's his forehand that is the greatest shot in the game.

    As for single-handed back hands in general, there is no doubt that court conditions across the tour have slowed to the point where tennis has become a power/physical game of long rallies where the mechanical stability of a double-handed backhand has advantages over the more natural but less stable SHBH. There is a whole science around this debate but the evidence is in the number of top players coming through with an SHBH.. they, like the serve and volleyers have become a dying breed due to the changing conditions (court, racquet technology etc). The numbers don't lie... look at the top 8 at the YEC, 7 of them may have 'ugly' backhands but then where are the guys with the 'pretty' backhands? Answer: struggling

    As for Gasquet having the best back hand in the game? well if this were true, then the telling point would be.. where the hell is he???

    btw I play with a single-handed BH and yes, it is prettier and is sweet when you strike it on the button for a winner but I am objective enough to admit that it is a tougher life on court than for someone with one of those 'ugly', safe mechanical double-handed BHs..

  • Comment number 23.

    "Also, Chris, ironically it is Adidas bandana and a Head."

    He's changed sponsorship on both his raquet and clothing since that picture was taken, to the ones I mentioned. I am a big fan of Grigors, I was just commenting that this article is about a year too late at least to be considered truely informative. He's been ont he scene for a while now!

  • Comment number 24.

    "First of all with respect to Federer's backhand, I said that it is a weakness of his.. otherwise he wouldn't run around his backhand as often as he does! (He'll probably admit as much). I made no remark about his specific backhand being a hindrance to his achievements. As I've said, it's his forehand that is the greatest shot in the game."

    Is this a joke? All top players run around their forehands. I note that you didn't answer whose backhand was superior: Nadal's ugly, amateurish-looking two-hander or Federer's one-hander.

    "As for single-handed back hands in general, there is no doubt that court conditions across the tour have slowed to the point where tennis has become a power/physical game of long rallies where the mechanical stability of a double-handed backhand has advantages over the more natural but less stable SHBH."

    The proof is in the pudding. Court conditions have been getting slower for about ten years now and Federer has completely dominated that time-frame.

    "There is a whole science around this debate but the evidence is in the number of top players coming through with an SHBH.. they, like the serve and volleyers have become a dying breed due to the changing conditions (court, racquet technology etc). The numbers don't lie... look at the top 8 at the YEC, 7 of them may have 'ugly' backhands but then where are the guys with the 'pretty' backhands? Answer: struggling."

    Prior to Federer's dominance of tennis for a decade, we had Sampras's dominance of tennis for a decade - both have wicked, stable, powerful one-handed backhands. Granted, there has been more top fifty players with a two-handed backand; however, that's mostly because a two-handed backhand is easier to master when one starts playing tennis, particularly at a young age.

    "As for Gasquet having the best back hand in the game? well if this were true, then the telling point would be.. where the hell is he???"

    Gasquet, is among other things, a mental midget. It takes more than just a backhand to dominate in tennis.

    "btw I play with a single-handed BH and yes, it is prettier and is sweet when you strike it on the button for a winner but I am objective enough to admit that it is a tougher life on court than for someone with one of those 'ugly', safe mechanical double-handed BHs."

    Facts are stubborn things. I note that tennis has been dominated at the highest level for the past two decades by those with a one-handed backhand.

  • Comment number 25.

    "Is this a joke? All top players run around their forehands. I note that you didn't answer whose backhand was superior: Nadal's ugly, amateurish-looking two-hander or Federer's one-hander"

    because for most their backhand is their weakness, Federer is no different. You are not getting my original point. And Nadal's backhand is superior, helped take him to the next level and win Wimbledon 08 and Aus09 and does not shank it.


    "The proof is in the pudding. Court conditions have been getting slower for about ten years now and Federer has completely dominated that time-frame"

    Ok I get it, Federer is the GOAT etc etc.. we're not even disagreeing on anything here!

    "Prior to Federer's dominance of tennis for a decade, we had Sampras's dominance of tennis for a decade - both have wicked, stable, powerful one-handed backhands. Granted, there has been more top fifty players with a two-handed backand; however, that's mostly because a two-handed backhand is easier to master when one starts playing tennis, particularly at a young age."

    Yes because the courts were much faster then.. which is my point, tennis has moved on since.

    "Gasquet, is among other things, a mental midget. It takes more than just a backhand to dominate in tennis."

    True, and also that he doesn't have the best backhand in the game, most would agree Murray has.


    "Facts are stubborn things. I note that tennis has been dominated at the highest level for the past two decades by those with a one-handed backhand."

    Not arguing with that, but my judgement is that tennis will now be dominated by the double-handed backhand from here on. In fact it is easy to see that when Federer goes, a Single-handed backhander will Never win a mens grand slam again because the contenders are all double-handers (Murray, Nole, Del Potro, Sods..) think you need to let go of the aesthetics of the SHBH and get with the changing game.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    Yes, always good to see young players like Dimnitrov coming through. One of our favourites here at The Tennis Emporium is the young Jamaican player, Dustin Brown.

    He is pne of the most exciting, raw talents to emerge in recent years, and what is even rare is, that he actually looks to be having fun out there. He's like the Louis Armstrong of tennis!

  • Comment number 28.

    Just to add a bit to the original topic of this article, I saw Dimitrov at Nottingham this year, where he lost in the first round of what was a pretty poor quality tournament (given its now lost its status to Eastbourne). I noted two major problems with Dimitrov. Firstly, his head didn't seem to be in it - he was laughing and joking the whole game with his girlfriend and frankly looked a lot more interested in getting off the court than staying on it. Secondly, whilst his natural talent is certainly not in doubt, I questioned whether either he or the other talented youngster at the tournament (Ricardo Berankis who is also mentioned in the article) had good enough serves to do well in the game. Whilst there is lots of talk above about the quality of a player's backhand, the serve is the most crucial attribute in being able to rise quickly through the rankings (Look at Sam Querrey and John Isner neither of whom are technically brilliant). I didn't feel that either Berankis or Dimitrov were big enough or possessed good enough serves to rise quickly through the rankings by getting cheap points and easy holds - every game they play will therefore be touch. Hence, in order to do well they both need to be well on top of their mental games and playing consistently to the best of their abilities. I do agree that, as stated in the article, Dimitrov's results have improved significantly since June (the Nottingham tournament), perhaps an indicator that his focus upon the game has dramatically improved. If it has then I won't be surprised to see him within the top 30 by this time next year.

  • Comment number 29.

    Right then, thanks for all the comments so far...

    A few of you eg 1/6/9/12/23 make the point that there has been a lot of hype about Grigor for a while now and he hasn't lived up to it - I think that's acknowledged in the article - that he first got people's attention when he won junior Wimbledon & US in 2008.

    But, as well as introducing him to tennis fans who may not have heard of him (not many of them about admittedly!), I was more interested in how he deals with all of that, plus the reasons why he has had such a successful last six months after a pretty poor previous 18.

    The reasons he says he struggled to make an impact when he first started playing on the men's tour are not surprising either: a lack of focus, a feeling he had already made it... as well as the men's game being a lot tougher. It was quite refreshing to hear him talk about his shortcomings, because he's a confident cookie. Maybe he is growing up?

    Some of you put question marks over his fitness/power, and that is a concern to him too, but I think he has got his head right now which is obviously a big, big part of tennis.

    As for what happens next? Who knows. As 28/ says, top 30 by the end of the year would be a great achievement, but so would top 50. We'll see. I remember when Andy Murray started climbing the rankings a few years ago - things just snowballed for him. We'll see if Grigor can do the same.

    Good to see you name a few other guys who are coming through too... Harrison, Dolgopolov, Kubler, Tomic, Brown etc. All worth looking out for over the next 12 months.

  • Comment number 30.

    Good last post Chris. I think Harrison is the one to watch but I'm looking to see him progress this year. I think someone mentioned top 50. That's a realistic target.

  • Comment number 31.

    Alexandr Golopolov is the guy to look out for this coming season. Had a fairly good season pushing the top seeds to the limit.

  • Comment number 32.

    If there's a youngster to look out for next year it is Dolgopolov, I think he is ready to make big strides next year.
    I think Dimitrov is overrated, he has a good game and definitely has top 20 potential, but i dont think he'll even get near Djokovic and Murray in terms of achievements, talk of him being able to take over from Federer and Nadal is unrealistic, he's much more likely to be another Monfils or Gasquet.
    The youngsters I'm looking out for next year are Dolgopolov, Nishikori and maybe Berankis.

  • Comment number 33.

    It is funny to see that no British players are being mentioned, think it shows how downhill tennis is going - One name for the future might be George Morgan if he can make the transfer to the mens game - Looks a decent yound kid when seem him play - Any other british players anyone can throw into the mix?

  • Comment number 34.

    "..also a single handed backhand is more a hindrance in the modern game".

    Don't agree with that. The single-handed topspin backhand is a far more flexible shot than the double-handed version, plus shbh players tend to develop much more attacking backhand slices as is the case with both Federer and Dimitrov. Also, of course, the dhbh is only taught in the first place to people who have trouble controlling their limbs.

  • Comment number 35.

    IF this turn out to be true then Rafa should be laughing. He will own Dimirov and diminished him the same way he does to Fed. HO HO HO HOO HOO!!

    MERRY XMASSSSSS!!

  • Comment number 36.

    "because for most their backhand is their weakness, Federer is no different. You are not getting my original point. And Nadal's backhand is superior, helped take him to the next level and win Wimbledon 08 and Aus09 and does not shank it."

    If you can't even bring yourself to admit that Federer has a superior backhand then I cannot take you seriously. You have just destroyed any credibility you had left.


    "Ok I get it, Federer is the GOAT etc etc.. we're not even disagreeing on anything here!"

    His superior one-handed backhand is part and parcel of his incredible success. Lendl dominated the 80's, Sampras the 90s, and Federer the last decade. Can you see the common variable?


    "Yes because the courts were much faster then.. which is my point, tennis has moved on since."

    Federer still dominated the slower courts. What's your point?


    "True, and also that he doesn't have the best backhand in the game, most would agree Murray has. "

    "most"? Unless you can cite a study or survey you're mistaking your subjective feelings for an imaginary consensus.



    "Not arguing with that, but my judgement is that tennis will now be dominated by the double-handed backhand from here on."

    blah blah blah...I've been literally hearing this for the past four decades: "the death of the one-handed backhand is immanent, it really is, trust me!" It hasn't happened, has it?


    "In fact it is easy to see that when Federer goes, a Single-handed backhander will Never win a mens grand slam again because the contenders are all double-handers (Murray, Nole, Del Potro, Sods..) think you need to let go of the aesthetics of the SHBH and get with the changing game."

    I don't give a crap about the "aesthetics"; if a one-handed backhand was indeed inferior as you seem to believe, tennis wouldn't have been dominated for the past three decades by players with a one-handed backhand. Simple enough?

    The rumours regarding the death of the one-handed backhand have been greatly exaggerated.

  • Comment number 37.

    "His superior one-handed backhand is part and parcel of his incredible success. Lendl dominated the 80's, Sampras the 90s, and Federer the last decade. Can you see the common variable?"

    What???

    I think you'll find that there is no common variable here!!

    Lendl's strength was definately not his backhand (considered a weakness until he actually learned to impart topspin). His forehand was his main strength aswell as his superior fitness and athleticism.

    Any tennis follower knows that Sampras' backhand was his weakness!! He dominated the game with his unreal serve (better than most top players in this era) and his massive forehand. Not to mention that he was also an incredible athelete and posessed exceptional volleys to boot.

    As for Federer - once again he has dominated tennis primarily through having a phenominal serve aswell as having one of, if not the most devastating forehands of all time. The difference with Federer, when compared to Lendl and Sampras is that his backhand is a weapon not a liability however it is definitely not the reason why he's dominated tennis in the way he has! Infact, and this is only my opinion, if Federer had a backhand like a Murray, Djokovic, Nalbandian etc then he would have won even more slams because Nadal would not have a 'weakness' to go after!

    Michael I can see your very passionate about the SHBH but the facts are pretty clear so I really have to agree with sir-dion.

    Please remember that this is supposed to be a friendly forum where people put across their opinions so please don't be so touchy in response to comments!

  • Comment number 38.

    Its wrong to single out Dimitrov as the one to watch above all others. The truth is any player who is ranked in the top 500 and is under the age of 20 has a chance of being very good. The mistake people make with tennis is trying to predict who will be a top player based on a players style. This might work occasionally but its more often than not the mental side which determines who will be good. In any case, actually predicting which players will and wont make it is impossible. Its often the players who arent hyped who eventually make it.

    A few examples: Del Potro- wasnt particularly hyped and has been the only player to beat both federer and nadal in a slam.

    Thiemmo de bakker- sprung from nowhere last year to establish himself as a top 50 player.

    Already this week i have watched a number of talented youngsters:

    Blaz Kavcic
    David Goffin - only 5ft3 but looks talented
    Thomas Schoorel - ran federer very close in Doha.

    Im not about to say that one or all of these players will make it to the top of the game but they all have a chance. They certainly have as much chance as Dimitrov who is only really being tipped up because his backhand and serve look a bit like Federers.

  • Comment number 39.

    22. At 01:07am on 21 Dec 2010, Sir_Dion wrote:
    #19

    look at the top 8 at the YEC, 7 of them may have 'ugly' backhands but then where are the guys with the 'pretty' backhands? Answer: struggling

    ======================

    Er... well actually the answer is "winning, beating all the other members of the top 5 for the loss of one set".

    You may be right but you sure as Hell chose a really bad way to make your point.

 

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