Grigor Dimitrov — before his offseason begins — essentially sent the rest of the ATP Tour a postcard on Thursday in Paris.
Dimitrov’s decisive victory over Dominic Thiem doesn’t mean 2020 will be a huge year for the Bulgarian. It doesn’t guarantee great success and abundant riches next year. It doesn’t change any reputations or rewrite any legacies.
It does, however, offer a reminder — as postcards often do — that Dimitrov is not to be forgotten in the near future.
This was a message on a postcard: “Don’t forget me in Australia next January.”
Will it amount to anything? No one knows. However, Dimitrov has managed — with this win over Thiem — to make one more big imprint on the 2019 men’s tennis season after his stunning U.S. Open semifinal run, which included a win over Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
Dimitrov could have drifted away in the remainder of 2019, and no one would have blinked an eye. Instead, Grigor captured our attention one more time and offered the possibility that in 2020, with a fresh start, he might make the consistent climb up the rankings which he is entirely capable of.
We don’t know what the future looks like for male tennis players outside the Big 3. In this realm of uncertainty, one has to make some significant statements at times — partly to fuel one’s own sense of confidence, partly to arrest a slide in the rankings, partly to get more match play against quality opponents who will test and sharpen one’s skills at various points in a season.
Grigor Dimitrov needed to leave 2019 with one more loudly positive statement. He made it. His 2020 season isn’t certain to be a banquet of prosperity and glory… but it now has a better chance of amounting to something significant.
Given where Dimitrov stood at the end of July, that is a reality he can certainly accept.
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