Dimitrov Adjusting Expectations Ahead of Miami
Bulgarian looking to reach past the fourth round for the first time in South Florida
He reached the semi-finals in Brisbane, the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and the final in Rotterdam. But a lingering virus during the past few weeks has derailed Dimitrov's season, forcing him to take time off and reduce his workload. He fell in his opener at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Dimitrov comes to Miami with tempered expectations but he's looking forward to restarting his season at the year's second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.
“I'm definitely going to lower my expectations a little bit coming into this week. I just haven't played that many matches in the past few weeks,” Dimitrov said during his pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday. “I'm just starting to feel my body good, and I'm feeling confident. Step-by-step I just want to build my game up and make sure that I'm doing the best that I can.”
The Miami Open presented by Itau has long been a favourite for Dimitrov, No. 4 in the ATP Rankings. He, like many other ATP World Tour players, has been coming to Miami for years, since he played at the Orange Bowl, a prestigious junior tournament that has also been held at Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. This is the 32nd and final year the Masters 1000 tournament will be held on Key Biscayne before relocating to Hard Rock Stadium next year.
“I have so many [memories]. One of the first big wins I ever had was here. The Orange Bowls that I played throughout those years. I feel like there's so much history,” Dimitrov said.
In 2012, his second time playing in Miami, Dimitrov, then No. 101 in the ATP Rankings, upset No. 7 Tomas Berdych en route to the fourth round. The Bulgarian, though, has reached that stage only one other time in South Florida, in 2016 (l. to Monfils).
“It's a tournament that I've always want to do well and I've managed to play well throughout the years. But never to the extent that I really wanted,” Dimitrov said.
To some degree, he said, his recent dip was to be expected. He had the best season of his life last year with the best ending possible.
“Last year was a pretty intense year overall – with practice, with traveling, with playing a lot of matches. So of course at some point that's going to catch up with you a little bit. So you need to pace yourself a little bit more. I just feel like that the past weeks haven't been great for me.
“That's why I need to again get back to that little rhythm, be able to work out for five, six, seven days of practice and feel good and make sure the body is holding up well. And then start winning a few matches.
“Progressively, hopefully you're going to get back to that same level. Because face it, you can never play the same way every day. That's why sometimes when you're out there on the court you just need to win with what you have that day.”