When he emerged on the circuit in 2008 following crowns at the Wimbledon and the US Open juniors, his sleek one handed backhand and exuberant shot making brought comparisons with the then dominant Federer. He was even nicknamed ‘Baby Fed’.
Within two years, Dimitrov was the youngest player at 19 years and six months to be within the top 125. The rise and the hype continued and he strode among the top 50 by 2012.
A first title at Stockholm arrived during 2013 and three more the following year as he entered the top 10 for the first time before ending as number 11. But the Grand Slam titles to underscore the billing never arrived. The dedication appeared diluted.
Off the court, his playboy good looks and honed physique kept the paparazzi happy especially while he was squiring Maria Sharapova.
The slump in fortunes arrived in 2016 after the end of that celebrity coupling. He fell back to 40 and the naysayers were feasting. But Dimitrov has proved them wrong. He has rekindled his yearning for success. His doubts, he says, are decreasing.
"I think the comparisons and all this, they don't really matter anymore,” he said mid tournament. “I'm really looking after my game and what I'm doing right.
"I think one of the wrong things you can do is to try to follow somebody else or try to, as I said, follow in the footsteps, the things that they have done."
True, up to certain point. He emulated Federer by reaching the semis of the tournament unbeaten following wins over Dominic Thiem, David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta, who replaced top seed Rafael Nadal when he pulled out with a knee injury.
And a final against Federer would have been a fascinating tussle on a hereditary front at the very least. But Goffin has put paid to that scenario.
“A tennis lifestyle can go in so many directions,” said Dimitrov when urged to reflect on the swings and arrows along his way. “One day I would like to talk about it. I think I have a lot to say on that matter. But right now, I'm enjoying one of my best seasons.”
Courtesy of his semi-final win over Jack Sock, Dimitrov will end the year at a career high of world number three.
“Obviously things have gone better than expected and I appreciate that. I wanted to end the year in the top 10 and I will finish number three."
Victory over Goffin would be the fourth crown of the 2017 season and the most prestigious title of a career that to all intents and purposes should have flourished years ago.
“Sooner or later you realise things in life,” said Dimitrov. “There are a lot of components that come together. I guess I have been fighting with my demons to find the right path to be consistent enough.
"Neither David nor I have been in this position before. I think it is going to be an exciting final and how we both cope with that will be the key to the match."
Praise and gratitude for his position has been lavished on Dani Vallverdu, who worked with former world number one Andy Murray.
“Dani deserves a lot of credit,” said Dimitrov. “He came into the team at a very crucial moment a couple of years ago. Without that, I wouldn't be the same guy
“I’m excited about what is ahead. I’m already looking forward to the next season. I’m even getting excited about the off-season which is not the most exciting time – because it means lots of training – but I’m even getting excited about that and I think that is a good sign.”
A backhanded self-compliment if ever there was one. Stylish and neat. Très à la Grigor.