Do we have a new ATP-WTA romance in the making?
According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, Maria Sharapova is now dating Bulgaria's No. 1, Grigor Dimitrov.
Asked about Rovell's report, Dimitrov issued the standard non-denial. "I never talk about my private [life]. Sorry," he told reporters in Australia.
Speculation about the possible pairing began in November when the 21-year-old Dimitrov was seen walking with Sharapova and her team in Milan, where Sharapova was scheduled to play an exhibition. There was smiling and giggling, and Dimitrov even cheekily offered Sharapova one of his (her?) Sugarpova candies.
Dimitrov isn't new to the relationship gossip mill. Last year he courted Serena Williams, though that didn't exactly pan out well. By the end of the year she was getting cozy with his coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, and Dimitrov left Mouratoglou's Paris academy for another academy in Sweden.
The new academy and the (possibly) new paramour seem to have paid off so far. Dimitrov, a highly touted prospect who was tagged with the "Baby Fed" nickname when he was a junior, kicked off the 2013 season by making his first ATP final this past weekend in Brisbane, bringing his ranking up seven spots to a career-high No. 41. Incidentally, Sharapova was also supposed to play Brisbane, but she withdrew from the tournament, citing a collarbone injury.
Dimitrov continues his Australian Open preparations in Sydney this week, while Sharapova is already in Melbourne practicing. Sharapova broke off her engagement to former Los Angeles Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic last spring.