Grigor Dimitrov became the first debutant to win the championship since Spanish player Àlex Corretja in 1998.
The Bulgarian sixth seed held his nerve to beat Belgium’s David Goffin 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in a gripping contest at London’s O2 Arena, finally sealing the match with his fifth championship point.
The victory takes the 26-year-old to the dizzy heights of third in the rankings behind only Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as he begins to deliver on his rich promise.
“I’m still trying to think about what I just did,” said the Bulgarian after his victory against Goffin. “I think now definitely we are going to sit down with the team and reassess the whole year, see what we’ve done good, what we can improve.
“Of course, one of my main goals is to win a tournament, you know, a Grand Slam tournament. This has always been, again, a dream of mine. Now slowly I think this thing is getting there.
“I think I’ve had good results in the past, but now, as I said, I need to be even more consistent on those kind of events, and in the same time raise up my level on occasions like this. Obviously, this is a great, unbelievable achievement for me, yes. But, yeah, I just still have a lot to give.”