Grigor Dimitrov staged a temporary sit-down protest to register his anger at court conditions today before he lost a five-set Wimbledon thriller.
The Bulgarian 29th seed, watched by superstar girlfriend Maria Sharapova, who was knocked out on Wednesday, went out 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-4, 11-9 to Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja in a second round match suspended due to rain on Thursday.
When the tie resumed on Court Three after a two-hour delay caused by more rain, the 22-year-old Dimitrov, watched by the sunglasses-wearing Sharapova, slipped and fell in his service action at 8-9 to give up the third match point of the tie.
He then stomped off to the sidelines and sat in his courtside chair.
The umpire and tournament referee then decided to wait out the drizzle before play resumed 10 minutes later.
But it didn’t change Dimitrov’s luck as Zemlja took victory on a sixth match point with a fine forehand passing shot.
“It started raining during the warmup. I kind of thought the umpire would say something,” said Dimitrov, a former boys champion at Wimbledon.
“When I slipped, I fell down, I hurt my hip. I told him, I’m not serving.”
Dimitrov, long touted as a future star of the sport, paid a heavy price for converting just two of 18 break points.
Zemlja, the first Slovenian to make the third round at Wimbledon, goes on to face Argentina’s eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro for a place in the last 16.
“I think a lot of people are talking about the surfaces,” added Dimitrov.
“It’s kind of tough sometimes I think for the aggressive movers. I consider myself as a pretty aggressive mover on the court.
“It’s tough when the grass is really slippery. I think you got to adjust. That’s the one thing. I mean, you know it’s not going to change much except the headlines.”
Dimitrov, meanwhile, shrugged off the unseemly row between current girlfriend Sharapova and Serena Williams, with whom he was previously linked.
Williams made fun of Sharapova’s man “with the black heart”.
“You guys tell me what kind of heart I have,” said the Bulgarian.
“I am here to talk about the slippery courts, how many injuries we had, pull outs. I don’t think we should be talking about that. I tink that’s in the past and that’s getting old.”
He was happy, however, to have the glamourous Sharapova looking on and insisted that her presence did not increase the pressure on him.
“I feel even more pumped and happy that she’s there for me. I think that’s what counts the most,” he added.
dj/smgPublished 28 Jun 2013, 20:30 IST