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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, March 28, 2024

Olympic gold-medal champion Alexander Zverev sees Jannik Sinner as the game's future gold standard.

Asked after his Miami Open quarterfinal win if he thinks Sinner is ready to rise to No. 1 this year, Zverev joked "I think he sucks."

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On a serious not, Zverev said Sinner's performance this season puts him on pace to be a dominant future world No. 1.

Pointing to the 22-year-old Italian's superb 20-1 start to the season, Zverev said if Sinner sustains this level, he could be No. 1 in the world "for the next 10 years."

"Look, he won the Australian Open, won Rotterdam, and he's what, [20-1] so far this year?" Zverev told the media in Miami. "I think if you have these kind of statistics, it's very logical that you're on the right path and you're on the way to be there, right?

"Do I think that he's going to be as unbeatable as he is so far this year? I don't know. Because right now he's lost one match.

"It's unbelievable. It's like a statistic like Djokovic started in his best years. Federer started like this in his best years. Rafa started like this I think once in his career."

Former US Open finalist Zverev said he's studying Sinner in an effort to stop the Australian Open champion's ascent to the top spot.

"If he keeps it like that, then he's not only going to be No. 1 in the world, he's going to be No. 1 in the world for the next 10 years," Zverev said. "But it's up to him and it's also up to me, up to Carlos, up to Daniil, up to Novak as well to stop him from doing that.

"Of course he's somebody that we now probably look out for, you know, one of two or three players that we look out for the most. We study him, we try to understand his game, we try to understand what can make him feel uncomfortable. And we'll see if we can use it."

Photo credit: Frey/TPN/Getty