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Chung can be a top-10 player, says beaten Djokovic

22 januari 2018 17:31

Novak Djokovic believes his Australian Open conqueror Hyeon Chung has the quality to become a top-10 player after stunning the former world number one in Melbourne.

NextGen champion Chung beat an ailing Djokovic, who continues to struggle with a long-standing elbow injury, 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) to book a quarter-final spot against another surprise package, Tennys Sandgren.

The South Korean referred to the six-time Australian Open champion as his "idol" after the match, and his style of play was evidently similar to Djokovic's as he secured a surprise win - something that did not escape the 30-year-old's attention.

"We do play very similar," Djokovic said. "He definitely has the game to be a top-10 player, without a doubt. How far he can go, that depends on him.

"Obviously I respect him a lot because he's a hard worker, he's disciplined, he's a nice guy, he's quiet. You can see that he cares about his career and his performances.

"So I'm sure that he's going to get some really good results in the future."

Djokovic beat Chung in the first round at Melbourne Park two years ago, but the 21-year-old's progress since then was clear for his opponent to see.

"There's a big difference," Djokovic added. "Obviously he's physically stronger. Also, [he is] mature.

"I think he has had some big matches in the last 15 months on the big stage. I think that helps to build a confidence and experience, to know what to do in deciding moments.

"Today, he was great in those moments. He showed no weaknesses, not many. He was really consistent and played a great match."

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