Wimbledon 2014: Andy Murray faces serious challenge from friend Grigor Dimitrov after banter

The winner will take on Novak Djokovic or Marin Cilic in the semi-finals


Andy Murray has won three of his four meetings with Grigor Dimitrov, but as the Scot prepares for their quarter-final here, there could be talk of revenge within the home camp. Team Murray have already lost once to Team Dimitrov at Wimbledon this year, the Bulgarian’s coach, Roger Rasheed, having beaten Jez Green, one of Murray’s fitness trainers, in a 200-metre dash at a nearby athletics track in the week before the tournament.

Murray and Dimitrov were spectators at that race, but the two men aim to take part in future challenges between the two entourages. “After the 200-metre sprint we did the other day it was great,” Dimitrov said. “We have a few other bets that will come later on in the year. They involve both teams and this time we’re both going to participate.

“It’s more for the fun, but any money from wagers will go to charity. I think the fun is much more important. When you share that laugh it is priceless. It will be a chance for revenge for whoever loses this match, so to speak.

“That’s the beauty of tennis,” added Dimitrov. “It’s basically a gladiator battle. It’s just two people. What a great way to do that kind of thing. A quarter-final match out on Centre Court: what more can you ask for?”

Murray has got to know Dimitrov better since the Bulgarian started working with Rasheed at the end of last year. Murray has been on particularly good terms with the Australian since he coached two of his friends, Gaël Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

“Andy is a great guy on and off the court,” Dimitrov said. “I have a lot of respect for him. I think we both have great respect for each other. We have practised a lot, we have played matches against each other. So I don’t think there will be any secrets out there.”

Dimitrov has been regarded as a major prospect ever since he won the Wimbledon and US Open junior titles in 2008. In his early years his style was often compared to Roger Federer’s, but only recently has his potential been realised. In the last year the world No 13 has won titles at Stockholm, Acapulco, Bucharest and Queen’s Club, and reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final in Melbourne in January.

Grigor Dimitrov’s talent is now being matched by his results (Getty) Grigor Dimitrov’s talent is now being matched by his results (Getty)
“Maybe right at the beginning of his career it was hard for him because everyone was comparing him to Federer,” Murray said. “Now he’s starting to come into his prime. He’s won a lot of matches this year. He’s a tough player. It will be a hard match for me.”

Dimitrov, who beat Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer to reach the quarter-finals, was taken to five sets by Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round but has otherwise won in straight sets. Murray won his first four matches without dropping a set. “I feel good,” Murray said. “I haven’t played too many long matches. I’ve been moving well. And mentally I haven’t had to use loads of energy yet. But I’m aware that’s going to come.”

Dimitrov’s girlfriend, Maria Sharapova, watched him win the title at Queen’s Club last month. Until today they had been concentrating on their own campaigns here, but after Sharapova’s defeat she might start following his matches again.

“There is no competition between us, not at all,” Dimitrov said. “We are at different stages. She has had an incredible career so far and has won a lot of incredible titles. I am just starting. There is no point comparing. She is competing in the WTA, I am on the ATP.

“I think we can both learn from each other. I don’t want to compare me to her. Firstly there is no point and secondly, in my opinion, even before I knew her, I thought she was the best. I actually remember watching her win Wimbledon. She was 17, I was 13.”

Murray will be supported by the three key women in his life – his mother Judy, girlfriend Kim Sears and coach Amélie Mauresmo. “It’s gone well,” Mauresmo said of her short time working with the world No 5. “Everyone has really made me welcome in the team. I’ve got to know them much better now. Things are smoother and smoother.”

She added: “Obviously the results are a big part of it and then how he’s been playing and handling everything. He’s been pretty consistent in his first four matches. Definitely he’s going to have a big test against Grigor.”

The winner will take on Novak Djokovic or Marin Cilic in the semi-finals, though the world No 2 should not underestimate the 25-year-old Croatian, playing in his first Wimbledon quarter-final, as he has already beaten Tomas Berdych, the world No 6.

Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
Jeffrey Archer holds up a copy of 'Kane and Abel', a book he says was ripped-off by Bollywood
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Fay Weldon suggested authors should tailor their work for Kindle readers
Caption competition
Caption competition
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.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers