“Tennis Is Not Forever but the Friendship Is” – Rafael Nadal Hails Friendship With Grigor Dimitrov

Published 03/04/2020, 8:22 AM EST


Despite their rivalry on the court, Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov share a close bond off the court. The Spaniard also went into the detail of their relationship after their exhibition match in Atlanta.

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Just days after playing each other at the Mexican Open 2020, Nadal and Dimitrov met at Infinite Energy Center in the north of Atlanta. The proceeds from the match were put to good use for the Rafa Nadal Foundation, which helps discriminated children who run the risk of being excluded by society.

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“We have been in Mallorca together”: Rafael Nadal

The Spaniard and Bulgarian share a great relationship together. Dimitrov has visited Nadal’s hometown – Mallorca previously and also stayed in the Rafa Nadal academy. Furthermore, the two also enjoyed their time on Nadal’s boat.

“We have been in Mallorca together. We go out in the boat and catch some fishes. Tennis is not forever but the friendship is,” Nadal said in an interview.

The former World No.3 visited Spain to practice with the 19-time Grand Slam champion. Despite having a playing style similar to Roger Federer, Nadal has been one of the major inspirations for Dimitrov. He also desires to visit Mallorca again to practice with Rafa.

Nadal vs Dimitrov head-to-head

Despite playing across the USA in various tournaments, this was the first time Nadal played in Atlanta. It was the second time the Nadal and Dimitrov met in a span of three days. The 33-year-old earlier defeated Grigor in straight-sets to in the Mexican Open 2020 semifinal on Friday. He once again handed a 7-5, 6-3 straight-set loss to the 28-year-old.

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The two have met each other 14 times in their career and Nadal has dominated the 2017 ATP Finals champion in their games. Dimitrov’s lone win over Nadal came at the China Open in 2016, when he beat the Spaniard to make the Beijing semifinal. Since then, Rafa has won six consecutive matches against him at the ATP level.

Though he reached the semifinals of the US Open 2019, Dimitrov has been struggling with his form and is not at his best from the past two seasons. With the winning percentage of over 72% in the 2017 season, his level dropped with just over 50% of winning percentage in the last two seasons.

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It will not be surprising if Dimitrov visits Mallorca again in order to practice with Nadal like he did  2017. Training with Nadal can help him get back in the groove and also inspire him.

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Varun Khanna

1312 articles

Starting off as a tennis author in 2018, Varun Khanna has gone on to contribute to EssentiallySports in various capacities. After setting up interviews with the likes of Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou, Alizé Cornet, and Noah Rubin, Varun is now part of all major ATP and WTA press conferences and has gone on to pen more than 1300 articles for EssentiallySports. He now heads the tennis and NBA division of the organization.

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