(Recasts, adds quotes)
By Clare Lovell
LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - Burgeoning talent Grigor Dimitrov showed no nerves and little mercy in his first foray on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, confident he could go far in the tournament.
The 23-year-old 11th seed demonstrated the value of the extra grasscourt practice he earned in winning the Queen’s Club warm-up event, claiming an assured 6-3 6-2 6-4 victory over Australian Luke Saville on Wednesday.
It took the Bulgarian into Wimbledon’s third round for the first time in five attempts.
”I‘m here for the long haul,“ Dimitrov said. ”I‘m having good results and I’ve been quite healthy and successful on all the surfaces. So it feels natural to me to come and compete on that level.
“At the same time I feel really excited. So that brings even more to the game ... I‘m looking forward to every match.”
Dimitrov has risen through the rankings to 13th this year after winning titles in Acapulco and Bucharest, as well as Queen‘s.
On Wednesday his 16-1 odds to win the tournament were compared with those for a Boris Becker in 1985, when the German teenager won Queen’s and went on to take the Wimbledon title.
“Of course it’s a great feeling to come to play a tournament with odds like that,” Dimitrov said. “You just have to be really optimistic as well.”
Dimitrov is no stranger to Wimbledon, having won the junior title in 2008, but he said that stepping out on Centre Court on Wednesday was “pretty awesome”.
“I think it’s every kid’s dream,” he said.
Saville, the 2011 junior title winner but now ranked 236 in the world and the second-youngest man in the draw, was outgunned in every aspect of Wednesday’s match.
But he can take heart from Dimitrov’s recent progress as a young player attempting to break the hegemony of the “big four” of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
“I know we all want to break through,” Dimitrov said. “I think the younger generation especially, we all want to push through those slams and start winning a few, which I believe is around the corner for any one of us.” (Editing by Pritha Sarkar and David Goodman)