Federer’s high praise for rising young star Zverev
ROGER Federer hailed Alexander Zverev as the complete package after beating the German up-and-comer to book his place in the last four of the ATP Finals.
The 20-year-old Zverev showed London’s O2 Arena why he will surely become a star of men’s tennis one day — but Federer’s own time is far from finished yet and his class eventually told.
Sixteen years and 19 grand slam titles separate this pair but, remarkably, it was Federer’s legs that were fresher in the decider. After two hours and 11 minutes he had won 7-6 (8/6) 5-7 6-1.
It means the 36-year-old is certain to move into this tournament’s semi-finals, even before his final group match against Marin Cilic, while Zverev faces American Jack Sock for the second qualifying spot.
Zverev is yet to make an impact at a grand slam but if the world No 3 overcomes Sock, a Federer reunion in Sunday’s final would seem a distinct possibility.
“What I like about Zverev is he’s got the full package,” Federer said.
“He’s already three in the world. I think he’s going to leave the World Tour Finals, regardless if he qualifies for the semis or not, with a lot of information.
“I think the last six months of the season gave him everything he needs to work forward to.
“Then, of course, he’s only going to get stronger from here. That should be very encouraging for him and his team.”
Federer remains favourite to claim a record-stretching seventh title, even more so after Rafael Nadal joined Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic on the sidelines.