Serbia Open runner-up Aslan Karatsev recently spoke with Championat, where he disclosed that he used to idolize Roger Federer in his initial years. Karatseve lavished praise on Federer's unique game, and also expressed his eagerness to play against the Swiss legend some time in the future.
Aslan Karatsev has made rapid strides in 2021 so far, winning his maiden tour title in Dubai a couple of months ago. The Russian also made the last four at the Australian Open, and just last week beat Novak Djokovic en route to the Serbia Open final - where he finished as the runner-up to Matteo Berrettini.
When asked about the set of players he looked up to in his childhood, Karatsev replied that used to like Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. The 27-year-old added that when the duo retired he took to supporting Roger Federer, who according to him has an incomparable game.
"I like Agassi, Sampras," Karatsev said. "When they left, I watched Roger Federer. The game that he shows, I think, cannot be compared with anything."
Aslan Karatsev went on to claim that he was no more the same kid who used to idolize Roger Federer, before admitting that playing against the Swiss maestro was one of his goals.
"It's not that he remains an idol," Karatsev said. "But I would like to play with him. I have looked at him since childhood, as he performed. So I'm interested in playing with him myself."
"In the form in which he keeps himself, this is a rarity" - Aslan Karatev on Roger Federer still playing at 39
During the interview, the World No. 27 also gave his thoughts on Roger Federer's incredible longevity. Federer has repeatedly defied Father Time during his illustrious career, showing amazing staying power despite suffering a string of physical setbacks in the final third of his career.
In that context, Aslan Karatsev asserted that it was "phenomenal" how Roger Federer was still playing at the age of 39. The Russian also claimed he had no idea how Federer had managed to keep himself in good enough shape to compete actively with the younger players on the tour.
"It's phenomenal (that he's playing till the age of 39), I would say," Karatsev added. "And in the form in which he keeps himself, this is a rarity. I don't know how he can keep himself in such physical shape. He moves great. Move like that at 40! This is phenomenal, I think so."