The tennis world will not yet be ready to dry its tearful eyes following the announcement that Maria Sharapova’s and Grigor Dimitrov’s relationship has come to an end after two years, the pair go their separate ways after shared disappointment at Wimbledon this summer.
Dimitrov made the announcement to media in his home country on Friday: “Our paths split. We experienced wonderful moments together.
“I wish her much happiness and success in life and in tennis. Now I'm concentrated entirely on the game and I'm sure the results will soon be seen... This is the summer of the new beginning for me.”
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It hasn’t been a good time for the promising Bulgarian player recently, despite his burgeoning potential the 24-year-old continues to remain on the fringes of success and has started falling down the ATP rankings ladder.
12 months ago it looked as though the world no.16 was finally ready to make his mark on the sport after reaching the semi-finals at SW19, having knocked out the then defending champion Andy Murray on Centre Court.
It was a landmark moment for Dimitrov, but he has since failed to build on that success. Two fourth round exits at the US Open and Australian Open was followed by a first match shocker at the French Open and then last week, in London, Richard Gasquet would beat Dimitrov on his way to his own losing semi-finalist slot.
The former world no.8 now needs to focus on his game as the sport needs more serious contenders to Novak Djokovic’s dominant reign at the top of the tree, there is an opening at the top if the rankings.
Sharapova, by contrast, has had a fairly successful time on-court while in a relationship with the man four years her junior. The 28-year-old won the 2014 French Open and has since reached the final of the Australian Open.
Most recently, at Wimbledon, the Russian beauty suffered the heartbreak of a semi-final exit by bitter rival and eventual winner Serena Williams, another purported ex-lover of Dimitrov.
Friday’s announcement splits tennis’ most high-profile pairing, a power couple if you like. It highlights just how difficult it is for two high-profile sports stars to spark a successful romance, it must be even harder when the two are in the same sport.
Tennis is an individual’s game, it’s not a team sport. The most successful players need a ruthless selfish streak and it must make it hard for a relationship to blossom.
The hours or practise and travel all around the world, which would have been doubled in the differing tournaments of the ATP and WTA, make it nigh-on impossible.
It would be different for players like Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic – all of whom seem happily married – as they have spouses who are prepared to support them from the sidelines and don’t have to be selfish themselves.
Hopefully it can work out for somebody else though. It’s across different sports but Ana Ivanovic has been with Bastian Schweinsteiger for a while now, and the latter’s transfer to Manchester United should mean that we get to see a lot more of the couple.