SHANGHAI — Grigor Dimitrov has hired Roger Rasheed as his new coach after splitting with Magnus Norman’s Sweden-based Good to Great Academy.
Last week, the Academy announced the split after nearly a year with Dimitrov, who has climbed into the top 30 after beginning the season at No. 48. The 22-year-old Bulgarian, ranked 28th, made his first ATP final at the Brisbane International in January and upset Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Masters in May.
“There are no hard feelings, definitely,” Dimitrov said after his first-round loss to Kei Nishikori at the Shanghai Masters. “This chapter, I definitely have to put behind me and look for something new and different and try to do the work in a better way.”
The Academy cited Dimitrov’s desire to spend more time in Los Angeles, where girlfriend Maria Sharapova based, as the primary reason for the parting of ways.
“I think there will be a lot of talk from both ends,” Dimitrov said. “For me, that’s not the most important thing. I’m not going to say that wasn’t a reason, but I can just say that I need to spend more time somewhere I feel really comfortable. Also with the end of the year, it’s important to be in a place you want to be. Sometimes things don’t really match up on both ends and it’s tough to work out.”
Dimitrov is still working out the details of his relationship with Rasheed, who has coached Lleyton Hewitt, Gael Monfils and, most recently, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. (Dimitrov said on Facebook that Rasheed has agreed to work with him “in the short term to help me in the journey forward in preparation for 2014.”) Rasheed is known for his focus on fitness, an approach that could benefit Dimitrov, who has had some success in the ATP’s best-of-three tournaments but has yet to get past the third in the best-of-five Grand Slam events.
“I can see that he’s a great and experienced coach and definitely one of the best there could be out there,” Dimitrov said. “I know it’s going to be a lot of work.”
Dimitrov said Rasheed “brings players to the top 10. That’s one of the biggest positive things, and I want to give it my all. I believe in the work that we’re going to do, from my end and his end. So hopefully it turns out to be something even better.”