Grigor Dimitrov was in a world of pain during his 6-1, 6-1 loss to Rafael Nadal on Thursday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, and it wasn’t just because of the lopsided scoreline. Challenging Nadal on clay is a daunting enough task in perfect health, let alone with a nagging toothache.
“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days. I have like a big infection of my tooth,” Dimitrov said. “It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that. It’s time to put an end to it.”
Tooth pain can grind you down both mentally and physically, just like Nadal’s relentless baseline game with which he hit 17 winners. The World No. 3 said he felt sorry for Dimitrov for playing “a bad match”.
“He was playing too aggressive and little bit out of rhythm,” Nadal said. “Sorry for him. I wish him all the best.”
At least Dimitrov’s work day was mercifully short, lasting just 55 minutes.
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week,” Dimitrov said. “Straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately. Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is. At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil, at home, so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.”
Heading into the third-round encounter, the World No. 17-ranked Bulgarian had a lot going against him already: Nadal is an 11-time champion in Monte-Carlo and had beaten Dimitrov in 13 of 14 meetings (he’s now 14-1 in their ATP Head2Head Series).
“I don’t [think] there was a match to be played today,” Dimitrov said. “He is who he is on the clay. If you don’t do the necessary things against him, then obviously you don’t stand a chance.”
Nadal faces the winner of Andrey Rublev and Roberto Bautista Agut next.