Ahead of the Australian Open next Monday, Roger Federer has started discussing who he is expecting to be his main rivals for the first Grand Slam of 2019.
Unsurprisingly, the Swiss star named world number one Novak Djokovic and Spanish rival Rafael Nadal as the frontrunners.
However, he has also been impressed by 21-year-old Alexander Zverev who beat Djokovic in the end of season ATP Finals in November.
The German has suffered a recent hamstring injury and will battle to be fit as he will want to turn his very promising ATP triumph into his first Grand Slam.
Federer has also backed fellow Swiss ace Stan Wawrinka to rediscover some form, despite struggling with injury himself over the past 12 months.
When asked to pick his favourites for the tournament in Melbourne, Federer said: “Novak (Djokovic), Zverev, Rafa if he’s 100 per cent.
"I think Stan (Wawrinka) could be a surprise. He’s been feeling really good as well.”
Federer, who doesn’t seem to name himself alongside the frontrunners, will face Denis Istomin in the first round after the draw was made on Thursday.
He is in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal, who has been drawn to face Australian wildcard James Duckworth.
Twenty-time Grand Slam winner Federer will be relieved to have avoided John Millman, who knocked him out of the US Open fourth round stage last year.
And Federer also singled out the Australian for special praise of his home event.
He added: “John Millman had a big tournament against me at the US Open.
"He’s one of the hardest working guys out there. He can bring it every single practice, every match.
"That’s why he will be successful in the future.
“It’s nice to see that Australia has a big, broad group of guys, not just a few guys doing well.”News Now - Sport News