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Grigor Dimitrov is looking for a deep run in Indian Wells, where he has never previously passed the third round.

Give Peace A Chance? Grigor Says 'No'

Bulgarian arrives with Top 4 Indian Wells seeding for first time

With a breakthrough title run at the prestigious season-ending Nitto ATP Finals and a career-best ranking, it is fair to suggest the stars are finally aligning for Grigor Dimitrov. Just don’t suggest he’s at peace with himself.

While the Bulgarian has never produced his finest results in the desert at the BNP Paribas Open – he is yet to make it beyond the third round in six appearances – he returns for the first time with a Top 4 seeding. Dimitrov admits he is enjoying what he does right now more than in previous years.

“Finally my body is starting to understand. I’ve been more consistent,” Dimitrov said. “I wouldn’t say I’m at peace, I don’t want to be at peace right now. I’m only 26. It’s a war.

“All jokes aside I’m in a place I can push myself on and off the court. When I get to the court I want to push myself to the maximum. When I get to the fitness I want to push myself to the maximum.”

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After his scorching run to close out the season in London, there were big expectations on Dimitrov when he returned Down Under as the defending Brisbane International champion and having reached the Australian Open semi-finals in 2017. He shone in a fourth-round victory over Nick Kyrgios at Melbourne Park in January to avenge a defeat to the Australian in Brisbane before a surprise loss to unseeded Kyle Edmund.

“I just wanted to kind of continue this momentum going. And I started my off-season kind of early this year,” he said. “My goal was to do very well in Australia. I still had a good result but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. I think I just need to keep going with the same attitude. Everything seemed to be in a good way.”

Dimitrov will be keen to erase memories of a harrowing defeat to Jack Sock in the third round at Indian Wells last year, where he let four match points slip. He atoned for that with a win over the American in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals. The pressure has certainly raised a notch though since Indian Wells 2017.

“I like pressure. You can go out on court at 5-all, 30-all, that’s a nice pressure to have so I always strive on that,” he said. “I want to do more and more. The people around me have to pace me sometimes. One of the things I learnt the most [in 2017] is actually how to rest. I’m still not good at it but I’m getting there.”