LONDON (Reuters) - Eleventh seed Grigor Dimitrov is hoping a successful Wimbledon will help consign to history some of the unwanted nicknames he has been given in his career.
The Bulgarian was handed the ‘Baby Fed’ tag because he is similar in playing style to seven-times Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and has also been labeled ‘Mr Sharapova’ due to his off-court relationship with French Open champion Maria.
However, after using up every ounce of effort to down dangerous Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-7 (3) 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-1 in the third round on Friday, Dimitrov said it was time to be known for his tennis performances alone.
“I think I’ve grown through all the nicknames by now,” he told reporters. “It’s time for everyone to kind of come up with something better.
“I think all those things are starting to fade away. I’m proving myself not only as a player but as a person outside of the court so to me that’s much more valuable,” said Dimitrov.
“I want to create my own legend, my own trademarks.”
After losing the first set on a tiebreak, Dimitrov rallied in the second but his opponent, who has never gone past the third round at Wimbledon, produced a crunching forehand to seal the third.
The 23-year-old leveled in the fourth set before Dolgopolov capitulated in the fifth as the Bulgarian reeled off six straight games.
“It was a good fight throughout the match,” said Dimitrov who claimed his fourth career title and his first on grass at the prestigious Queen’s Club event in London earlier this month.
“Alex is a tricky opponent. My game wasn’t at the best level today.
“The only thing I could do was just stay in the match and fight with every chance I had.”
Dimitrov, the first Bulgarian male to reach the fourth round, plays Argentine Leonardo Mayer in the last 16 – an opponent he has never played before.
“I haven’t seen any of him,” he said. “The one thing is I’m not planning on underestimating my opponent, whoever I’m playing.
“I’m focused only on my game and how I’m going to bounce back from that match today.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez