Rather than paying homage to the mighty Swiss, the cocksure Australian has taken a distinctly different tack, cheekily suggesting Federer may lose before their expected clash in the third round.
“Well, if he gets that far,” was the response of Tomic to being drawn against Federer, for a likely clash on Saturday.
“I would love to get in that position to play Roger in the third round. He has to get there as well. You don’t know what can happen. Tennis is a funny sport. So we’ll see,” he said.
Given that Federer, who meets Nikolay Davydenko in Round Two today, is on a run of 34 straight Grand Slam quarter-finals, it was an impertinent suggestion.
To meet Federer, Tomic must first beat qualifier Daniel Brands. Last year, he only took eight games off the 17-time Grand Slam champion as he went down in straight sets in the fourth round.
Federer, 31, also cast doubt on Tomic’s ambition of cracking the top 10 within a year.
“Let’s speak in a year’s time. Everybody wants to jump from, what’s his ranking, 60, to 10 in a year. It’s hard to do. Ten is a big ask,” he said.
This is not the first time Federer, who is known to store remarks from opponents as motivational weaponry, has put a young upstart in his place at Melbourne Park.
Famously, a young Novak Djokovic told an Australian TV station in 2007 that he would beat Federer in the fourth round. Federer was World No 1 and already on the road to becoming an all-time great. Djokovic, 18, was unproven.
Federer learned of the Serb’s boastful prediction and vowed to remind him who’s boss. The result? A pointed 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 triumph to Federer. Then and now, he wants the last word.
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