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Dimitrov hoses down the hype

  • David Packman
  • Ben Solomon

Despite the hype, world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov is staying the course. 

“It's just keep doing the basic stuff, what has been working throughout the year,” he said at Melbourne Park on Saturday. “For me, it's all about the progress. I just want to be better.”

After his best year on tour in 2017 – which began in Australia with the Brisbane title and an epic semifinal encounter with Rafael Nadal here at Melbourne Park, followed by a first Masters 1000 title in Cincinatti, and ending with a career-best title win at the Nitto ATP Finals in London – the Bulgarian has arrived at Australian Open 2018 with external expectations of a maiden Grand Slam never higher.

Dimitrov, however, is keeping it all very low-key.

“I'm just really focusing on the job at hand right now,” he said. “This is, for me, each match at a time, just trying to build up match by match, hopefully be able to play good tennis throughout the whole two weeks.

“I just don't feel like I want to do anything different or change things up because that's what I've been doing pretty much all my life,” he added. “That's why the results are coming.” 

On track to meet Nadal once again in the last four, Dimitrov said he took plenty away from the five-set loss last year.

“I think I really, really learned a lot from it. There's so many bittersweet memories, but it kind of set up a great year for me,” he said. “Hopefully I have more of those matches.”

Despite being unable to defend his title in Brisbane this year, falling for the first time to eventual title winner Nick Kyrgios in a semifinal, Dimitrov, now 26, said he was feeling good. 

“It was early in the year, I was still kind of in my off-season mode,” he said. “To me, the result wasn't that important. It was more how I'm going to work myself into the matches, how I'm going to feel.

“There's no complaints. Body feels great. The whole week I've been practicing well. The only thing right now is actually to get out there and perform.”