Dimitrov braced for Australian Open expectations
Grigor Dimitrov is prepared for the expectation that will accompany him at the Australian Open after winning the ATP Finals.
Dimitrov benefited from the absence of several top players through injury to claim the end-of-season prize on Sunday at the expense of David Goffin, who surprisingly eliminated Roger Federer in the semi-finals.
The Bulgarian has climbed to third in the world rankings behind only Federer and world number one Rafael Nadal as a result of his success at the O2 Arena.
And the 26-year-old is now ready to be considered among the favourites in the first grand slam of the year at Melbourne Park.
"Yeah, absolutely, I know I am going to be on the radar there," he told Sky Sports.
"That is something that actually excites me and that is what I play tennis for, just to compete.
"I feel confident, to be the last man standing is always a great thing."
Burdened from a young age with the nickname 'Baby Fed' due to his one-handed backhand, which is the same technique employed to such good effect by Federer, Dimitrov feels he is finally beginning to deliver regularly when it matters.
"I've put myself in very good positions before, semis, finals of big tournaments and have just never been able to win," he said.
"This year, in particular, I think I have jumped over that barrier a little bit more, playing a little bit more loose, a little bit more confident so there are a lot of things that are starting to come together.
"I don't feel like there are many other things that I've changed, it is just the constant work that I have been putting in and the results are here right now."