Grigor Dimitrov lifts on lid on extent of his injury: ‘I couldn’t put my socks on before the match’

Shahida Jacobs
Grigor Dimitrov disappointed

Grigor Dimitrov has revealed the nature of the injury that troubled him during his Australian Open quarter-final defeat at the hands of Aslan Karatsev.

World No 114 Karatsev continued his dream run at Melbourne Park as he came from a set down to defeat the 18th seeded Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

‘It’s an unbelievable feeling,’ says history-maker Aslan Karatsev after reaching Australian Open semi-final

In the process the Russian became the first qualifier in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals on his Grand Slam debut.

Dimitrov paid tribute to his opponent after the match.

“I think it’s great to see,” he said. “He needs to take it in. He needs to appreciate it. He’s a great player. To be here, clearly, you’ve done something right. You’ve put in the work, you’ve gone through the qualifying went through tough and good matches, and built up confidence.”

The Bulgarian, though, was troubled by injury for most of the match and afterwards he delved deeper into his back problem.

“I just got a back spasm yesterday at some point,” he said. “We couldn’t fix it in time. [The pain started to happen again], early in the match [today]. It kept on progressing, and it was unstoppable… It started yesterday out of the blue.

“I felt I was on a good path. We’ve done great work. I was very positive and upbeat for whatever, whoever I had to play… Today, I couldn’t put my socks on before the match, so I knew it was going to be a tough moment for me. I tried, but it was not good enough. But he absolutely deserved to win.”

He added: “I thought I could push through it. But at the end of the first set, my level completely dropped, I felt [it], even in important moments in the second set, like early on. He served good, made me play a lot, so that added extra stress to the body. I just thought to myself, ‘I will keep on trying’ and hoped things would get better because I’ve taken a lot of things before the match.

“I don’t like quitting… but you get stubborn. You’re a competitor. That’s what it is. I’m admitting my flaw. It’s just, when you’re on the court sometimes, you don’t think straight, and in that particular moment today, I just didn’t want to give up. I couldn’t give up. Plus, that’s just how I am.”

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