Japanese teen prodigy Shintaro Mochizuki recently explained why he thinks Roger Federer is different from the other active players on tour right now.
Speaking in an interview with ATP before his first-round match in Miami, the 17-year-old first narrated an anecdote about trading hits with his 'hero' Federer himself.
"He’s my hero," Mochizuki said of Roger Federer. "At the ATP Finals, I was there as a hitting partner and I got to hit with him. It was a dream. He hits so easy, just relaxed."
Mochizuki went on to claim that it was through watching Roger Federer that he could muster enough confidence to play the main events.
"He taught me that if you have any chances to play bigger events, just go for it," the Japanese added.
Many people are playing with power, but Roger Federer is just hitting balls so easy: Shintaro Mochizuki
Shintaro Mochizuki, who is currently placed at No. 654 in the ATP rankings, believes Roger Federer stands out with his effortless style of play. The Japanese claimed that Federer was a rarity among today's players, who are much more vocal in terms of their game and emotions.
"Many people are just playing with the power and emotions, but he's just hitting balls so easy," Mochizuki remarked.
Shintaro Mochizuki beat World No. 168 Emilio Gomez to qualify for the Miami Open, in what is his ATP tour debut. And even though he lost to the higher-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis in the first round, Mochizuki has many positives to take from his time at the Masters 1000 event.
"Even this tournament, I had a wild card (to enter the qualifiers)," Mochizuki said. "I'm still like No. 600, I’m not even close to getting into qualies and I had a chance to play, so I just came to play."
“Actually, [it helped] a lot because that was my first ATP tournament of my life and I was so nervous and I couldn't even play my tennis, especially in the first set," he added. "But this is my second tournament, and I'm getting used to it. I'm enjoying playing on the tour."