They say to never kick a man when he is down — to not add insult to injury. For professional tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, he not only refuses to add insult to injury, but to help a man when he is down. On Friday, Dimitrov won his quarterfinals match against Kyle Edmund in the Brisbane Interntional to advance to the semifinals, but the excitement of the win was placed on the back-burner in comparison to what unfolded in the third set.
With the third set all tied up, Edmund fell quickly to the ground in what looked to be excruciating pain. As Edmund grabbed his ankle with both hands and did not get up immediately, it was Dimitrov who was first on the scene.
Without skipping a beat, Dimitrov raced toward the net and leaped over it to Edmund’s side of the court. He reached his hand down toward his opponent and proceeded to help him to his feet. Dimitrov then assisted Edmund to the sideline as the crowd jumped to its feet and gave them both a standing ovation.
“At the end of the day, health above all. It’s very unfortunate what happened,” Dimitrov said when asked about the injury. “I’ve seen this too many times. I know the feeling. I really hope he gets better. In the last two games, he wasn’t at his best. I just had to find a way again.”
Edmund admitted he did not see Dimitrov run over at first, due to being so focused on the injury. But, according to The Guardian, Edmund was not surprised at the act of kindness.
“He just showed his concern, I guess, which is good,” Edmund said. “It’s good to have someone like that. He’s always been like that, Grigor. He’s been a good guy on and off the court.”
At just 26 years old, Dimitrov is off to one of the most successful tennis careers to date. As a boy, Dimitrov skyrocketed his way up the rankings before becoming the number one male player in 2008. The same year, he won consecutive grand slam boys’ singles titles at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships and the 2008 U.S. Open. As a professional, Dimitrov is the most successful Bulgarian tennis player in history. He is the only Bulgarian to ever find himself inside the top 10 rankings as well as earn upwards of $10 million in prize money.
Saturday, Dimitrov lost to Nick Kyrgios in the semifinals. Kyrgios would go on to win it all — his first title. However, if ever there was a trophy for kindness, Dimitrov surely would have placed atop the ranks. In other sports like the NFL, at times, you see defenders hovering over an offensive player after laying a real strong hit on them. Or, in the NHL, injuries often lead to fights. Even if an injury isn’t a result of a direct hit, rarely do you see an opponent take the time to lift their rival off the court and assist them to the sideline. Dimitrov proved that, above all else, winning isn’t everything. Sportsmanship still exists in 2018, and he’s out to make sure that doesn’t change.