Yesterday, Grigor Dimitrov pulled off the biggest upset of his career, defeating Novak Djokovic 7-6(6), 6-7(8), 6-3 for his third career win against a top ten opponent and first against a world No. 1.
It seems like every few months, the 21-year old has a new career first. At Miami, last year he had his first top 10 win against Tomas Berdych. Then at Queen's Club, he reached his first career semifinal. To begin this year, he reached his first career final in Brisbane. Now he has his first career win against one of the big four. Every month, Dimitrov's accomplishments grow in number, and his ranking has continued to rise, which will go to a new career-high on Monday. So what should we expect from the Bulgarian in the future both near and far?
Looking at many of his peers, the bright future doesn't seem too bright. Consider players like Jerzy Janowicz, David Goffin, Bernard Tomic, Donald Young, and John Isner. Each of them at some point had an amazing achievement, such as a win against one of the big four, a first career title, or a deep run at a Masters Series or Grand Slam event. After that, however, each of those players have struggled to some degree.
It is normal to have a little bit of a letdown after a huge accomplishment. Even for Dimitrov, after reached his first career final, he lost three matches in a row. The question is: How long will he have a letdown before he begins routinely winning big matches and begins to move into the top 10?
We all know that he has the kind of talent that will take him into the top 10, but where will he go after that. He isn't like Jerzy Janowicz or Milos Raonic, who have a clear distinct weapon. He just has a ton of athleticism and talent, which makes him hard to predict. There is no doubt that he is capable of winning slams and being the world No. 1 someday. However, he is far from being ready to compete on an everyday basis with the big four. It took an extraordinary performance in a poor situation for Djokovic for him to pull off the upset.
I think Dimitrov will have his ranking hover in the 9 to 15 range for a few years before he has another break through and gets into the top five. Juan Martin del Potro, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic will be staying at the top of the game for a long time. When Dimitrov can compete with those three on a regular basis, then he will see his ranking move to the top five. Eventually we could see a new big four formed between Bernard Tomic, Jerzy Janowicz, Milos Raonic, and Grigor Dimitrov.