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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