Can Grigor Dimitrov win his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon?

Ahead of the start of Wimbledon, which begins next week, Sports Mole assesses whether Queen's champion Grigor Dimitrov can make it a memorable double at SW19.

Ever since he won the Wimbledon junior tournament in 2008, Grigor Dimitrov has been considered as one of the next crop of players who could potentially replace the current "big four" that are present in the sport.

It took the Bulgarian several years to make the transition into the men's game, but after steadily making his way up the world rankings, and impressing a considerable number of people along the way, the 23-year-old is finally on the brink of cracking the world's top 10, and once he makes that step up, he's unlikely to relinquish it anytime soon.

Dimitrov's current Grand Slam record leaves a lot to be desired, but after winning three titles over the course of six months, can the most talented prospect in tennis make his mark on the biggest stage by lifting the Wimbledon trophy in just over two weeks' time?

After spending a couple of years regularly featuring in futures and challenger competitions to earn himself his highest ranking of 106 at the end of 2010, Dimitrov started the following year by winning his first Grand Slam match at the Australian Open.

The result wasn't significant in terms of the player that he overcame early on in Melbourne but the victory earned Dimitrov a place in the top 100, and aside from one two-week period, it's a standing that the Eastern European player has held on to over the past four years.

Grigor Dimitrov in action against Marcel Granollers during the Monte Carlo Masters second round on April 16, 2014© Getty Images

But ranking aside, Dimitrov has built a reputation as one of the game's crowd-pleasers, and in turn, his vast array of shots, his movement around the court and his raw power has made him one of the most feared players on the tour, and despite being a possible fourth-round opponent for many of the world's top competitors at Wimbledon, he's the stand-out name that the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray won't want to face.

He may have lost each of his five meetings with Nadal, but he's always taken the Spaniard the distance away from the clay. He has won just once in four clashes with Djokovic, but that came at a Masters Series event, and he edged out Murray in the semi-finals in Acapulco in February on the way to his first title of 2014.

When you include his solitary encounter with Roger Federer, he has won just twice from 14 matches with the four players that have dominated the majors over the past five years, but his performances, from a man who is still in his early twenties, indicate that he can potentially become the next man to join the list of Grand Slam winners.

Of course, it takes much more than potential to break into such illustrious company, but Dimitrov is more than just a flash in the pan. He's steadily grown into the men's game, albeit slightly slower than some may have expected, but he has the tools to beat anyone whether they are performing to the best of their ability or not.

As we've alluded to already, for a man of such ability, Dimitrov's Grand Slam record is poor - in fact, it's downright abysmal. He reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne at the start of 2014, but in his 14 other efforts, he has failed to progress past the last 32.

Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov celebrates with the winners trophy after clinching victory in the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club on June 15, 2014© Getty Images

However, his last showing at a major tournament, which was a straight-sets defeat to Ivo Karlovic at Roland Garros, could be seen as a blessing in disguise because it gave Dimitrov the opportunity to recuperate from 11 tournaments and a Davis Cup tie over the course of five months, while also giving himself the chance to get accustomed to the change in court surface.

The transformation from his early exit in Paris to his opening performances at Queen's quickly became apparent, and while he benefited from a walkover in the last eight, he looked at home in front of crowds in excess of 7,000 in London, where he ended the tournament with triumphs over Stanislas Wawrinka and Feliciano Lopez respectively.

The success against Wawrinka stood out, but it was the manner in which he dragged himself from the brink of defeat against Lopez to going on to win in a deciding set that would have warned his soon-to-be main rivals that he has the mentality to showcase his ability in the crucial moments.

That victory would have only heightened expectations back home that he can become the first Bulgarian winner of a men's singles title at Wimbledon, but as he makes his way up the world rankings, it's probably his last major tournament where he won't be considered as one of the top three or four players to win the competition with the bookmakers.

Taking that into account, Dimitrov's performances could go one of two ways, but with a number of the top players being hampered in one way or another, this is Dimitrov's chance to shine, and if he can take his opportunity on one of the two show courts at SW19 and get the crowd on his side he is likely to relish the atmosphere, which can only be seen as a negative for the rest of the world's elite.

Britain's Andy Murray reacts after beating France's Paul-Henri Mathieu during their second round match on day three of the ATP Aegon Championships tennis tournament at The Queen's Club in west London, on June 11, 2014
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