World No. 19 Grigor Dimitrov admits it was hard to refuse world No. 1 Novak Djokovic's invitation to play the Adria Tour. Dimitrov, 29, kicked off his Adria Tour campaign with a win over Serbian world No. 23 Dusan Lajovic.
"Obviously, we have known each other for a long time. Clearly, he (Djokovic) is the best player out there. Of course, to certain extent it was hard to say no," Dimitrov told Sport Klub after beating Lajovic. Dimitrov -- playing in his first match since February -- performed well as he handed a three-set defeat to local tennis star Lajovic 4-3 (2) 3-4 (5) 4-1.
Lajovic paid the price for blowing a set point and failing to serve out for the first set in the sixth game as Dimitrov dominated the tie-break to steal the opener. The Bulgarian twice recovered from a break down in the second set and also had a 5-3 lead in the tie-break but Lajovic won four points in a row to force a decider.
But Dimitrov kept his focus as he broke Lajovic in the fourth game and never faced a break point to clinch the win. "I felt good. It's always nice to come out on the court and this (tennis court) is always one of my safest places to be -- whether I win or lose so I think that's a good sign.
I take a lot of pride in that kind of environment. Very tough conditions, especially on clay for the first match, we haven't competed in so long. We could have played a solid match, we could have missed a lot of balls. But I'm just happy that I was able to stay in the court and just produce some decent tennis," Dimitrov said.
Grigor Dimitrov enjoyed the lockdown period
When asked about his time during the coronavirus lockdown, Dimitrov said: "I for one took it a very positive time to just work a little bit on the things that I haven't had the time to try it.
Plus, I really needed some time off from the court and I think competing as well. But I love it. I think it's really important to try to make a positive situation out of the negative one. Those were one of those days when I really had to focus on myself or whatever I felt like it." Grigor Dimitrov spent a few months in the United States before returning to Europe.