Rafael Nadal: Alexander Zverev Has A Big Chance To Be No. 1 In The World

by Tom Gainey | January 20th, 2017, 9:59 am

Following a good win Thursday night over former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis, Rafael Nadal looked ahead to his Saturday collision with teen phenom Alexander Zverev.

“Is a great player,” Nadal said of the 19-year-old. “Is one of the best players of the world, without a doubt, today. And he’s a player that is for sure one of the next Grand Slam winners. He has a big chance to become the future world No. 1, no? If he’s able to keep improving the way that he’s doing, I don’t have doubt that his potential is so, so high.

“I know I have a very tough match, and I know I need to play my best if I want to have chances. That is what I am looking for.”

The two met at Indian Wells last year and if not for a missed volley, Zverev would have won the match.

“I started very young,” he added. “Roger started young. Novak, Andy, Hewitt, Sampras, everybody. All the great champions are good in the young, early.

“He has all the shots: great serve, great forehand, great backhand, everything. He’s a complete player. I need to put a rhythm very, very high to try to don’t let him play in comfortable positions. That’s what I going to try.”

Zverev responded to Nadal’s kind words.

“It’s obviously great to hear from a legend like him that he thinks I can be very good and he thinks I can be good in the future,” Zverev said. “As well, I know that I still have to work very hard. I still have to, you know, improve a lot to be up there with them.

“It’s going to be a spectacular night,” he said. “I’m looking forward to that match.”

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23 Comments for Rafael Nadal: Alexander Zverev Has A Big Chance To Be No. 1 In The World

Willow Says:

Sorry from the other thread, interested to here the thoughts from J.S, Navdeep, Okie, AM, IMO Rafa needs to hit the ground running, exactly the way Federer did in his match ….

AndyMira Says:

@Willow…Don’t u worry,rafa will not only running but sliding,slithering,flying u name it..and u have to do your part as well willow..get your best crystal balls out from your closet..Rafa needs it very badly against this pretty boy..

Margot Says:

I really like Zverev. Reminds of a young Andy with all that wild hair. Lovely all court game and moves fabulously well for such a tall guy. Helps by being so skinny I guess.

Okiegal Says:

@Willow…..well here’s what I think…..Rafa will have to play better than he has been. I am not saying Rafa has not been playing good because he has……but can’t have any dips in play because this kid is a tough customer who has lots of fight, passion, and determination and lots of talent!! GO RAFA!!

Willow Says:

Many say about Rafa being lucky in IW last year, but bearing in mind, he choked away a tie break, and also bageled Zev in the second set, so maybe Zev was actually lucky on that day that he got a set of Rafa, and Rafa really shouldve won in two sets, hopefully Rafa will be better prepared this time, and will have learned his lesson ….

J.S. Says:

I was at IW match and left after Djoko beat Rafa. Rafa/Novak match couldve gone either way, just FYI!!
It was experience (RAFA)and lack- of (Zev) and the amazing pressure Rafa puts on his opponents. I”m betting on Rafa in 4 but hope its done in straight sets.

BUT the kid is better now!! YIKES DON’T SCARE ME!!!! I will be eating chocolate and drinking vino at 5 am if this goes SOUTH!

Willow Says:

J.S lucky you lol, anyway what i was doing was using some perspective, people often say Rafa was lucky in that match, it can get quite irritating when players(all players) fans hear the expression lucky ad nauseum, what i mean is if we are going to say Rafa was lucky Zev missed on MP, we could also say Zev was lucky Rafa choked away a TB in that first set, the point is we can use the same expression for any player at any given time, all irrelevant in the end ….

J.S. Says:


AND, I am still nervous, LOL

Willow Says:

J.S Tough been a fan ….

J-Kath Says:

Will President Trump allow only Americans at the next GS?

I know – hit me with your frying pans.

J.S. Says:

haha who is Donald Trump? Sorry….Can’t go there! Did you see he said his fav player is Rafa? What a tool!

jane Says:

a lot of people compare young zverev to fed.
he’s certainly an aggressive player, but i don’t see fed’s game in his. it’s much more obvious in grigor’s.

RZ Says:

@J-Kath – what are you talking about? The next GS will be tremendous and amazing. The best GS ever, bigly! It will be a beautiful, beautiful thing.

J.S. Says:

ZVER reminds me more of Andy not Fed. I didn’t know they compared him to Fed. He is a cutie and seems really disciplined.

jane Says:

he said he was a fan of fed growing up. he’s not a counter-puncher anyhow, he’s definitely more aggressive in style – big serve, huge forehand.

yes he does seem very sweet; loved the pictures of him with novak on his charity night (sascha said novak is one of his friends on tour; both live in monte carlo), and also the pics from during hopman cup.

i also kind of like that he left nike for adidas. ;)

Roger Nadal Says:

I agree w/ J.S. – probably Rafa in 4. This is a bigger stage than IW.

Navdeep Says:

As I said earlier, a bit nervous but I believe Rafa will do the job in 4 sets

kjb Says:

Match is on!!!!Zverev breaks first game! His backhand is so flat and crazy.

J.S. Says:

Come on RAFA – he has this!! Praying, Crying, Hoping!!!
Do it Baby!!!

jane Says:

sascha, though… he’s something else!
i think rafa’s going to come through,
but these are the winds of change.

jane Says:

wow – what. a. point.

jane Says:

congrats rafa! nice win.

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