Dimitrov never lost belief in own ability

Despite tumbling down the rankings in 2016, Grigor Dimitrov insists he always believed he could win major ATP tournaments.

Grigor Dmitrov

ATP Finals winner Grigor Dimitrov.   -  Getty Images

Grigor Dimitrov never lost the belief that he could challenge for major honours on the ATP Tour, despite dropping to 40th in the world in 2016.

Dimitrov had been a regular in the top 10 from 2014 but began to struggle for results and found himself slipping down the standings.

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Matters came to a head in July 2016 after a third-round exit to Steve Johnson at Wimbledon, as Dimitrov dropped to his lowest ranking in three years.

The Bulgarian looked in danger of not fulfilling his considerable potential but he has since worked his way back to the top and his victory in the ATP Finals last weekend saw him reach third in the world – something he always believed would happen.

"A couple of years ago when I dropped my ranking to the low 40s, I think that was a tough moment for me," he told the ATP Tour.

"But I appreciated it at that time because it really showed me a lot.

"That was a period when I was most uncertain about myself and my game, and the way I wanted to structure myself as a player after that.

"I never lost the belief and the faith, and I think we're going to have higher goals for next year."

Now Dimitrov faces a new challenge as one of the men to beat when the 2018 season gets underway in January.

It is something he is relishing, though, as he looks to break his grand slam duck.

"It's great, I like it [the pressure], I like it," he added. "You're always going to have that red dot on your back now. 

"But this is the nice thing in tennis, obviously I know what to expect right now which is why I need to be even more ready, everything is simple but has to go even more."