Dimitrov ready to go all the way
TENNIS: Grigor Dimitrov was once better known for being the boyfriend of Maria Sharapova than for his exploits on the tennis court.
But the 15th seed now reckons he has the game to win a major title ahead of tonight's semi-final with sentimental crowd favourite Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open.
The Bulgarian says he is in a good place after admitting that in the past his love life had been a distraction.
"I have been on a tremendous rollercoaster," he said.
"But I am happy with the way things happened.
"Otherwise I wouldn't understand myself and now I'm appreciating things a lot better."
On the court the 25-year-old is in a better place than he was last year after dropping from a career-high eighth in the world rankings to 40.
Dimitrov is not sure what changed but he is confident fo success ahead of his second grand slam semi-final following on from his last-four spot at Wimbledon in 2014.
"I think I'm taking better decisions when I come out on the court," he said.
"Better decisions in terms of points or how I'm going to play certain players or how I'm going to prepare, for example, before my matches.
"My focus has been good. The mentality has been there."
The former Wimbledon and US Open junior champion is unbeaten in 2017 and won his fifth career title in Brisbane.
He has lost only two sets in the Australian Open so far but said he was ready to end Nadal's run tonight.
"I feel like I have all the tools to go further, and my job isn't over yet," Dimitrov said.
"I'm looking forward to my match. I think I'm prepared. I think I'm ready to go the distance.
"I don't shy away from that. I'm confident enough to say that I feel good physically, and overall like on the court."
Spanish veteran Nadal is also into his first semi-final at a major since 2014.
He has a winning record of 7-1 against his younger opponent but will be taking nothing for granted.
"I have a very tough match against Dimitrov," he said.
"Everybody thinks that he's a potential major winner, no? But he was there probably little bit later than what we thought.
"Twenty-five - still young, but that's not the new generation. He's a player that have been on the tour for a lot of years already.
"He's a player that has an unbelievable talent, unbelievable potential. He started the season playing unbelievable.
"I'm going to try to play my best because I know he's playing with high confidence."