Grigor Dimitrov talks about the loss of Rafael Nadal that he could not get over for a long time

It took Grigor Dimitrov almost the entire 2017 season to mentally get past Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open semi-final defeat, with the now 33-year-old Bulgarian admitting he left the courtroom wondering if certain special powers were affecting the Spaniard had pushed through to win.

At the beginning of 2017, Dimitrov reached his first Australian Open semi-final and felt he was ready to go all out. But then came the match against Nadal, and although the Bulgarian played extremely well throughout the match, he still somehow lost that day after the Spaniard escaped with a 6-3 5-7 7-6 (5) 6- 7 (4) 6-4 win.

Late in the decider, Dimitrov led 4-3 and also earned two break points, putting him in an excellent position to seal the win. But instead of leading 5–3 and getting a chance to serve out for the match, Dimitrov ended up losing the eighth game and the next two as well.

“The match with Rafa took me seven to eight months to get over. I often felt like there were invisible forces that were turning the match around,” Dimitrov told The Athletic.

“I was up 4-2 in the fifth and played a great one…there was no way I could lose the match, and I still lost the match. (I got over it with) Mental strength, overall.”

Grigor Dimitrov and Rafael Nadal
Grigor Dimitrov and Rafael Nadal© Getty Images Sports – Michael Dodge

How Dimitrov did after that loss?

After the 2017 Australian Open, it wasn’t that Dimitrov played poorly or anything like that, as he immediately managed to win Sofia in his next tournament. That same year, Dimitrov also went all the way at the Cincinnati Masters and the ATP Finals.

But the problem was that Dimitrov was not the same at Grand Slam level for the rest of 2017: he lost in the third round of the French Open, left Wimbledon in the round of 16 and left the US Open in the second round. round.

When Dimitrov returned to Melbourne Park in 2018 he was a quarter-finalist and in 2021 he also had a quarter-final.