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Tennis: ‘Baby Fed’ eyes Grand Slam breakthrough

/ 04:23 PM January 17, 2015
Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria plays a shot in his semi final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland during the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria plays a shot in his semi final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland during the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

MELBOURNE — Australian Open tenth seed Grigor Dimitrov says he is oozing confidence, bouyed by a successful 2014 as he plots a way to make his Grand Slam breakthrough.

The high-profile Bulgarian, dubbed “Baby Fed” for his playing similarities to the great Swiss and a picture-perfect one-handed backhand, posted a 50-18 record in 2014 in winning three titles.

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It was a year to remember for a man who, along with Canadian Milos Raonic and Japan’s Kei Nishikori, is seen as one of the players most likely to end the dominance of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Despite being demolished 6-2, 6-2 by Federer in the Brisbane International semi-finals last weekend, the 23-year-old is upbeat about the trio’s chances at the opening Grand Slam of the year at Melbourne Park.

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“I’m not going to lie. It was a tough match that I lost last week,” said Dimitrov, who has improved his year-end ranking seven years in a row.

“Definitely didn’t perform the way I wanted to. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m discouraged to keep trying and keep believing that any of us (Raonic and Nishikori) is going to make it through.

“Anything can happen out here.”

Dimitrov, who cites Pete Sampras as his idol, made the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year and the last eight at the Australian Open, but has yet to make a final.

“Obviously I’ve had a pretty good 2014. Obviously we knew what was working for us and knew what we needed to focus on,” said Dimitrov, who won tournaments at London, Bucharest and Acapulco and is now coached by Australian Roger Rasheed.

“At the same time I’ve put a lot of work in the off-season on and off the court.

The Bulgarian gets his tournament underway against German Dustin Brown.

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TAGS: Australian Open, Bulgaria, Grand Slams, Grigor Dimitrov, Sports, Tennis
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