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31 Dec, 2019 11:11

‘He’s going to be something special’: Roger Federer tips Russian youngster Andrey Rublev as the one to watch in 2020

‘He’s going to be something special’: Roger Federer tips Russian youngster Andrey Rublev as the one to watch in 2020

As seals of approval go, they don't come much better than from Roger Federer. That's what Russian youngster Andrey Rublev received as the Swiss tennis icon backed him for big things in 2020.

Federer, 38, knows a thing or two about how to reach the pinnacle of the sport, having amassed a men's record 20 Grand Slam titles. 

As the Swiss bids to add to that haul in 2020, starting with the Australian Open in January, he's backed 22-year-old Russian Rublev as one to watch next season.

"I think that Rublev is going to be something special," Federer told ATP TennisTV when asked for his pick on who would shine in 2020.

"He played great against me in Cincinnati, he impressed me a lot there."

The Swiss great was referring to his encounter with Rublev in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters back in August, when the Russian sprang an upset by winning 6-3 6-4.

It was part of a season of renewed promise from Rublev, as he surged up the rankings to end the year at world number 23.

He claimed an emotional victory on his 22nd birthday back in October, when he won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Also on rt.com Krem de la Krem! Russian rising star Rublev clinches Kremlin Cup 2019 on his 22nd birthday in Moscow

After turning pro in 2014, Rublev had seemed destined for big things before injury struck in 2018.

He fell as low as 115 in the rankings this year, even saying that people had "put RIP" next to his name - but is firmly back on track for success in 2020 as part of a talented crop of Russian youngsters including Daniil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov. 

Also on rt.com ‘Something I’ll never forget’: Russian youngster Andrey Rublev on emotional Kremlin Cup win (VIDEO)

Other names tipped to shine by tennis stars next season included Italian 18-year-old Jannick Sinner, currently ranked world number 78. 

Canadian pair Felix Auger-Aliassime, 19, and Denis Shapovalov, 20, were also backed for bigger things in 2020.

Auger-Aliassime ended the season at world number 21, while Shapovalov is at number 15 in the ATP rankings.