“Every Athlete Has an Expiration Date”: Grigor Dimitrov Opens Up on Retirement

Published 03/19/2021, 12:35 AM EDT
Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria celebrates victory in his Singles match against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain during day six of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Bulgarian tennis star Grigor Dimitrov has said he is where he needs to be in terms of fitness and form and hasn’t given any thought to his future in the game as yet.


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Speaking to Eurosport, the current World Number 16 said that he is excited to have entered a new phase in his career where he feels he is more experienced and skilled at understanding his game and handling expectations.

Grigor Dimitrov says he is starting to understand his game a lot better


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Opening up on how it feels to be in this new phase, the Bulgarian, who will soon turn 30, said, “You start looking at yourself differently; understand yourself a little bit more and can cut the unnecessary things that surround you.”

With the old engine seemingly in fine fettle on the Tour, Dimitrov stormed into the quarter-finals of the ongoing Mexican Open on Thursday with a clinical 6-4, 6-2 over Milomir Kecmanovic of Serbia.

With focus firmly on tennis and breaking back into the Top-10, the Bulgarian said he prefers not to burden himself with things that won’t “add” to his “life”.

Dimitrov added that though physically he doesn’t feel like he is going to hit thirty soon, he is “maturing” in his head.

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria reacts during his Men’s Singles semi-final match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia on day twelve of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The 29-year-old, who came down with Covid-19 last year and battled its debilitating after effects for a while, said he intends to keep being in the hunt for titles as long as his body holds.

Grigor Dimitrov says he would love to keep playing as long as his body holds

“I would love to keep on playing as long as my body allows me to compete at the highest level,” Dimitrov said.

However, he added that while tennis is a big part of his life, he realizes that there will come a time in his career where he will have to embrace retirement.

“We’re athletes and every athlete has an expiration date, that’s how it is,” the Bulgarian said.

He added that playing tennis and battling for titles is part of a “dream” that he is living right now and “real life” will begin once his career ends.


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On the evidence of his recent run of form and results, retirement should be the last thing on his mind.

The Bulgarian reached the quarter-final of this year’s Australian Open on the back of some impressive wins, including a fourth-round rout of reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem.


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However, he bowed out in the last-eight after losing to Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev.


Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.