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By Chris Oddo | Wednesday March 16, 2016

Alexander Zverev

Top players are dishing out high praise for rising 18-year-old Alexander Zverev.

Photo Souce: Christopher Levy

Tomas Berdych said that Alexander Zverev will be a future No. 1 last week after the pair met in Davis Cup. It was high praise from the Czech but taken with a grain of salt: Berdych has become friendly with Zverev over the past year as the pair have been sharing trainer Jez Green and have practiced and interacted quite a bit together.

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We asked Zverev about Berdych’s comments on Tuesday at Indian Wells, and he elaborated on the pair’s relationship a bit.

“We have been really good friends with him,” Zverev said, referring to his team. “We practice quite a lot. He gives me quite good advice, as well. We're really kind of close to each other. So, yeah, if someone like him says something like that it's always a big honor. I know that I still have a lot of work ahead of me. As I said, I think it's a long way there. Hopefully, you know, hopefully maybe one day I can reach my potential, and then we'll see where I can end up at.”

That’s the perfect answer from the 18-year-old German. He’s quietly confident and clearly believes in his potential, but he’s also wise enough to know that hard work is going to be the key to him even flirting with achieving a No. 1 ranking.

The young German is also showing a healthy respect for his elders. Here’s what he said about facing 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal on Wednesday at Indian Wells.

“Rafa, he's one of the greatest in the sport ever winning 14 slams,” Zverev said. “He's probably one of greatest fighters ever, so it would be a big honor to play against someone like him.”

Rafa also expressed a surprising reverence for Zverev’s game when he spoke with reporters on Tuesday after defeating Fernando Verdasco.

“He's a clear possible future No. 1,” Nadal said. “He's an amazing player. He has all the shots. Very good physical performance. Tall, good serve, first and second, great shots from the baseline, forehand and backhand. He has everything to become big star and he's playing well. He won already matches against Dimitrov, against Simon today.

“It is going to be a very tough match tomorrow for me, and I have to be ready to fight, to suffer, and to try to play aggressive. That's what I gonna try, no? Try to put a high rhythm and let's see.”


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