Bernard Tomic claimed his first ATP title on Saturday night, defeating South African Kevin Anderson in the final of the Apia International 6-3 6-7 (7-2) 6-3.
The win completes the perfect Australian Open warm-up for Tomic, but tennis legend Roger Federer has warned the rising star that the road ahead will be no easy challenge.
17-time Grand Slam champion Federer was asked about Tomic’s rise to success ahead of the Australian Open.
“I think we should go step by step, see how it goes,” said Federer.
“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.
“Don't forget how tough the top 10 players are right now.”
Tomic’s lead-up to the Open has been nothing short of spectacular after a rough and controversial 2012. He defeated world No.1 Novak Djokovic and went 3-0 at the Hopman Cup, although the international team-based tournament does not influence world rankings, and moved up from world No.64 to number 43 after his Sydney title.
However, the 20-year-old’s Australian Open campaign will be significantly tougher with Federer waiting for him in the third round.
“Last I played (Federer) was in Cincinnati (last August) where I think he won the tournament. I lost to him in the third round, 6-2, 6-4, close match. I think I've improved quite a bit,” said Tomic.
Federer also warned Tomic not to be distracted with the prospect of facing the Swiss great in the third round.
“He's got his work cut out, you know, in the first few rounds,” he said.
“He will be making a mistake about thinking about me in the third round because he also has to get there.”
Federer did however have good things to say about one Australian in the Open- Lleyton Hewitt.
Hewitt, embarking on his 17th Australian Open campaign, and coming off his own title win this weekend at the Kooyong Classic, isn’t expected to do much damaged after drawing Serbian eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic in the first-round.
Federer said that he’d always believed Hewitt would make a successful comeback after many had written him off during an injury plagued 2011/12.
“We're in a similar situation now with both of us having a family. Rankings are not important for him, but he knows he can hang with the best and he can cause upsets and still win tournaments.
“And as long as he feels that way, I hope he keeps on playing and I hope he stays injury-free for once for an entire year because that then would give him great opportunities more often than not during the year.”
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