Alexander Zverev can be the next big Grand Slam star, says Roger Federer
The Swiss ace was speaking to reporters following his straight-sets second-round victory over Britain's Daniel Evans at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
And the 20-time Grand Slam tournament champion heaped praise on the 21-year-old German star, who captured the 2018 ATP World Tour Finals - his first major title on the tour.
"With 'Sascha' holding the World Tour Finals, I think it’s fair to say that even though he has not ripped through those (Grand) Slams yet, he will go deep this year definitely at one of them," he said.
Zverev successfully progressed to the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday with a five-set victory over Frenchman Jérémy Chardy.
Zverev raced into a two-set lead before Chardy mounted a spirited fightback to take the match into a deciding set.
But Zverev showed his championship class with a dominant fifth set, winning it 6-1 to complete a hard-earned victory 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1.
And while Federer says the German will soon be at the sharp end, challenging for Grand Slams, he said he still believes his longtime rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, as well as himself, will be the men to beat, depending on the surface they play on.
"I think we know how to win slams, Novak, Rafa, myself," he said.
"Rafa has to be the No. 1 favorite - I don’t care how he feels - before the French (Open).
"Novak is always a favorite on the hard courts - basically any court of his feeling, 100 per cent - if he plays like last year.
"Maybe just because of the amount of titles I have at Wimbledon and other places, maybe also have to put me in the mix every time, as well," added Federer.Also on rt.com What do we know about 'Sascha'? - Get to know ATP finals champion Alexander Zverev (VIDEO)