With An Eye To Giving Back, Dimitrov Looks To The Future
In an extract from Eurosport’s Players’ Voice series, Grigor Dimitrov shares his excitement for the future, both on and off the court. The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion, who will celebrate his 30th birthday in May, reflects on the short career span of an athlete and reveals his plans for his new foundation.
Soon I’ll be turning 30 and I can’t say I have put too much thought into that, but the one thing I can say for sure, though, is that I’m excited. It’s not young, it’s not old but it feels like you’re entering a new phase of life where you start looking at yourself differently, you understand yourself a little bit more and you can start to cut the unnecessary things that surround you; you don’t want to waste time on things that really don’t add to your life.
Physically I’m feeling good, mentally I don’t feel 30, which is a good thing, but I still feel like I’m maturing a lot in my head. So who knows what’s going to happen? Only time will tell. I would love to keep on playing for as long as my body allows me to compete at the highest level. However, tennis is just a temporary thing, it’s not going to be forever. We’re athletes and every athlete has an expiration date, that’s just how it is. Right now we’re just living our dream but after that, the real life begins.
So aside from tennis, having family in the future is hopefully on the cards as well as working on other things that I’ve always wanted to do. Then one day, when it’s time to say goodbye to one thing, I’ll be ready for the other one with open arms and excited for the next chapter in my life.
I recently set up my own foundation which I hope will play a big part in that. It’s something that has always been at the back of my mind, I just wanted to wait to find the right time. When I was a kid growing up in Bulgaria, my mum used to pick me up from school and we would pass kids who basically had no chance of help around. I remember asking her if anyone was going to help them and she was very honest with me and said, “I’m not going to lie to you, son, they’re in a very difficult position but if you want to do something one day, why don’t you keep on playing tennis?”
That stuck with me ever since and I’ve actually appointed my mum as the foundation’s director. We both definitely remember that conversation so it symbolises a lot. She thinks differently from anyone I’ve ever met in my whole life, and I think it’s because of her that I’ve always thought outside the box. She has this infinite positivity and an aura about her that really speaks a language that isn’t foreign to me. It pushes me to want to find that next step and purpose so I couldn’t have thought of a better person, and I believe she will do a great job, I do not even doubt her for a second.
We are still structuring those final pieces and it’s taking a little bit of time because I want us to cover a broad spectrum and not just focus on one certain thing. We are trying to find a way to support as many areas as possible, whether it’s families, kids or adults, essentially whoever needs the necessary help to progress in life, so I’m excited about it, but it’s challenging because I’m having to go really deep within myself.
I feel like I was one of the few lucky ones who was able to have a family like the one I had. Each member has contributed in a very different and significant way in my life. I learned a lot from each of them and I just want to give something back, so I see this as a way to make up for my absence from my family and country.