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Dimitrov credits rise to Sharapova's influence

Nick Atkin
June 16, 2014 « McIlroy: I need to curb my enthusiasm | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Maria Sharapova watched Grigor Dimitrov's Queen's final victory © Getty Images
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Grigor Dimitrov has credited girlfriend Maria Sharapova with helping him start to fulfill his potential after winning his first grass-court title at Queen's on Sunday.

Sharapova, who won a fifth grand slam at the French Open, was in attendance as Dimitrov edged Feliciano Lopez to secure his fourth career title.

"She's just been unbelievable, supporting me throughout the year," Dimitrov said. "The feeling is pretty mutual. I hope that's not going to be the last tournament that she's at.

"Having Maria on my side definitely adds up, and a tremendous champion like her, there is a lot to learn.

Grigor Dimitrov won his fourth career title on Sunday © Getty Images
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"It's still completely different areas in a way, women's tennis and men's tennis. But there is certainly a good amount that I have learned throughout so far."

The man nicknamed 'Baby Federer' has already set his sights on securing a "dream" Wimbledon triumph as he looks to continue his progress by breaking his grand slam duck.

However, Dimitrov insists it is the influence of coach Roger Rasheed that has helped him more than anything else. Since the pair joined forces in October, Dimitrov has won titles in Stockholm, Acapulco, Bucharest and now at Queen's Club.

"I have changed coaches maybe six, seven times throughout all the years," said Dimitrov. "I have definitely learned a lot from all of them. But approaching my early 20s, I felt really determined with what I actually wanted to do and what I wanted to achieve.

"It took a little bit of time for me to start to understand what my game is and what I'm looking for, and in the same time just everything happened pretty naturally with Roger.

"I just really needed a strong person on and off the court for me. That was something that always kept me in a good way. It just feels comfortable.

"I have Roger all the time next to me, and that gives me confidence. I'm more than happy that most of the times we're on the same page when it comes to work and practice, so that's a good sign."

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