19-year-old wonderkid, Alexander Zverev, ramped up excitement for the 2017 Australian Open after a scintillating performance which resulted in a 7-6 6-7 7-6 victory over Roger Federer at the Hopman Cup in Perth.
Being ranked 24th in the world – Zverev’s highest ranking of 20th in October 2016 meant he was the youngest player to enter the top 20 since Novak Djokovic in 2006, the talented German admitted he tries to cancel out all the attention he inevitably attracts.
“I try to focus on just developing and just getting better, you can’t really listen to what other people have to say that much,” the 19-year-old said.
“There’s been so many great juniors, great teenagers in the world who never really got to the top so I’ve got to keep working hard and keep improving.”
Zverev’s victory over the 17-time Grand Slam winner in Perth is the second time he has beat Federer – June 2016 in Halle, Germany, Zverev knocked the three-time defending champion out of the Gerry Weber Open in the semi-finals.
Matching Federer’s consistency is a task too great for most – the Swiss only lost four points on serve during the second set in Perth, but still had to win the set on a hard-fought tiebreak due to Zverev’s incredible tennis.
Zverev turned professional in 2013, and after facing Federer on three occasions, the 6ft 6inch phenomenon expressed his respect for one of tennis’ greatest ever players.
“To beat Roger you really have to play an unbelievable match from the first point to the last,” he said.
“You’ve just got to go out there and play your best tennis otherwise there’s zero chance of winning.”
Zverev added: “It’s always great to be in Australia. I won my first junior Grand Slam here and I have so many great memories that’s why I love coming back here.”