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.


election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'