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People were writing the same rubbish about Federer’: Alexander Zverev backed return to form

Tennis' young pretender, Alexander Zverev, will recover from his recent slump and win multiple major titles, according to Andy Murray's former coach Mark Petchy.

The year of 2017 saw the 20-year-old establish himself among the sport's elite, as he went from a promising top 20 player to number four in the world thanks to two ATP Masters 1000 titles.

But Zverev's performances in the four grand slam events remains a cause for concern – he is yet to progress beyond the fourth round in 11 appearances – and crashed out in the third round at the Australian Open after losing to Hyeon Chung.

Defeat in Melbourne was followed by comments from the right-hander that he was struggling mentally with the pressure of performing on the big stage, citing losses to Milos Raonic at Wimbledon and Borna Coric at the US Open as other matches in which he had frozen.

Petchy, who coached three-time grand slam champion Murray for 10 months during his rise to the top, has drawn comparisons with those who wrote off Roger Federer during his formative years on the tour and believes Zverev can emerge from his current woes.

"I'm not worried at all," Petchey told Sky Sports. "He's still only 20 and he's had a fantastic start to his career. People were writing the same rubbish about [Roger] Federer at one stage, and look at what his career has turned out to be like.

"I have absolutely no doubt that Zverev's going to be a major winner in a multiple way. Once he gets to a certain stage of a Grand Slam it will all fall into place.

"It's all about time and he's got absolutely loads of it on his side. There will be a lot of youngsters out there right now who would be quite happy if they had his career. He wants more and obviously he will be disappointed he couldn't have more in Australia, but it will come."

Federer was dogged by a lack of mental fortitude during the early years of his professional career and often cut a dejected and irritated figure at the baseline and during changeovers amid harrowing defeats to the sport's top players.

Lleyton Hewitt, world number one during Federer's breakthrough, was among those who the Swiss often fell short against with the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon champion winning seven of the pair's first nine career meetings.

And it was not until Federer, now 36 and a 20-time grand slam winner, channeled his frustration and began to think like a potential major champion did his results improve.



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