Fast-forward to last summer and things were very different.
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The Bulgarian from the wrong side of the tracks clashed with the austere daily regime of endless hours of practice.
‘I was being really rebellious, just doing whatever I felt like.
I would party non-stop, hang out with friends and was always late for practice.
I got expelled from the academy a couple of times – for a lot of things, I can’t say them all.’ He gleefully recounts sneaking back in at dawn, vaulting over the security gates and past the guard dogs.
After beating Murray in 2014 he was knocked out by Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, but remains convinced that, had he won a crucial fourth-set point, he would have gone on to secure his first Grand Slam. The memory of ‘Grigsy’ still raises a smile from Dimitrov, even if it is just the latest in a long line of monikers: ‘Showtime’ and ‘Primetime’ for his on-court audacity and flamboyance and ‘Baby Fed’ after Roger Federer, to whose effortless style he is supposedly the heir.
But he has also found fame beyond sporting prowess.
A Centre Court crowd, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, murmured in collective appreciation at the thundering serves and lethal backhand slices that have become his trademark.
By the end of that match the previously little-known Bulgarian had been adopted as one of our own, with the typically unimaginative British sporting nickname to boot. It says something about the rapid rise of the current world number 10 that this summer Dimitrov has both defending his Queen’s title and winning Wimbledon in his sights.
Watch old clips of him playing and he drifts effortlessly across the court snapping into shots.