It’s a move that likely surprises no one – especially the coach.
But former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov announced Tuesday he has parted ways with his coach, Dani Vallverdu.
The Bulgarian, who turns 28 in 10 days, had worked with Vallverdu for three years.
But since reaching that career-high ranking in Oct, 2017 and in the wake of a glorious end to that season at the ATP Tour Finals, Dimitrov has struggled.
On Monday, Dimitrov suffered a rather meek defeat at the hands of American qualifier Taylor Fritz in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open.
After that, Dimitrov and Vallverdu had the talk.
— Grigor Dimitrov (@GrigorDimitrov) May 7, 2019
A spike at the end of 2017
Dimitrov defeated David Goffin to win the 2017 Tour Finals, although he didn’t have to get through any of the “Big Three” to do it. The highest-ranked player he faced was No. 4 Dominic Thiem in his opening match.
Still, Dimitrov went 49-19, won four titles and banked over $5 million in 2017.
it seemed like a building block on which Dimitrov could take that next step, to the very top of the game.
The 2018 season was … okay. Dimitrov reached the quarterfinals in Australia and the semifinals in Monte Carlo. But he lost to Fernando Verdasco in the first round at the French Open and in the first round at both Wimbledon and the US Open to Stan Wawrinka.
Wawrinka, on the comeback trail from knee surgery, was ranked No. 224 at Wimbledon, and No. 101 at the US Open.
Dimitrov won back-to-back matches in only seven tournaments in 2018 – only four of them after Rotterdam in mid-February and none after the Rogers Cup in August.
He didn’t qualify for the ATP Tour Finals. And as a result of not defending those points, dropped from No. 10 to No. 19 to close out the season.
2019 a struggle
This season began slowly, with Dimitrov nursing a shoulder injury. He didn’t play between the Australian Open and Miami.
Dimitrov lost in the third round in Barcelona to Nicolas Jarry of Chile.
And, with his ranking down to No. 49, he lost rather meekly to American qualifier Taylor Fritz in the first round of Madrid this week.
And then, came the talk.
As it happens, Vallverdu, 33, is one of 15 candidates for the spot on the ATP Board recently vacated by Justin Gimelstob.
The $100,000 stipend that comes with it would come in handy for a coach who is now without a player.