French Open: Novak Djokovic warns rising star Grigor Dimitrov he has some way to go to the top

The world number one meets the Bulgarian in the third round of the French Open

Novak Djokovic has warned Grigor Dimitrov his path to the top is far from guaranteed as the pair prepare to meet in the third round of the French Open tomorrow.

Dimitrov has long been seen as one of the sport's brightest young talents having been labelled the new Roger Federer as a teenager, and at 22 he is beginning to make his mark.

The Bulgarian has climbed to 28th in the rankings but it was his victory over world number one Djokovic in Madrid earlier this month that really caught the eye.

Dimitrov's talent allows him to play a very attractive style of game, but Djokovic stressed the next step will be all about how hard he is prepared to work.

Djokovic said: "He's still young and he definitely has the potential to be one of the top players, but it's a very long way for him. A few tournaments don't change much.

"Of course it can help him mentally because he's got shots, he's got talent, he's built well and he moves well around the court.

"Now it's all about hard work, dedication to the sport and trying to be consistently successful on all the surfaces in order to be a top five, top 10 player, because this is the only way you can actually reach the level that it is right now.

"It's very competitive. It's much more competitive and I think more difficult for the younger players to make a breakthrough than six, seven, eight years ago when I was coming up."

Somewhat surprisingly, this is the first time Dimitrov has reached the third round at a grand slam, while Djokovic is bidding to win a seventh slam title.

Dimitrov has vowed to enjoy the experience of playing the top seed, saying: "It's a great feeling, obviously. I'm going to smile coming out on the court. That's the one thing. Smiling won't win the match.

"It's the third round, it will definitely be on a big court. The most important thing is just to go out there and try to enjoy the game. And at the same time, I'm really looking forward to playing at my best. And you never know what's going to happen."

Rain was the main winner at Roland Garros yesterday, with Rafael Nadal among the players unable to start their matches.

The big upset of the day came in the women's event where American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who was ranked outside the top 200 in February, defeated 2011 champion Li Na.

Nadal will try again today against Slovakia's Martin Klizan while Maria Sharapova should finish off Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard after being reluctantly forced off last night leading 6-2 4-2.

Assuming the forecast for better weather is correct, Roger Federer and Serena Williams will play their third-round matches against Julien Benneteau and Sorana Cirstea, respectively.

PA

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?