Two former Grand Slam champions John McEnroe and Pat Cash both believe that Alexei Popyrin is going to be a top player in the future after the Aussie's first round win over Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Melbourne on Tuesday.
Popyrin advanced to the second round when Tsonga retired with the 20 year old leading 6-7 (7-5) 6-2 6-1 but it was enough to impress the tennis champions. Speaking to World Wide of Sports, McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, said, "For the record, Popyrin has a huge upside.
He has top 10 talent." Cash, who worked with Popyrin during the grass court season in 2019, says, "Alexei is an unbelievable physical talent. He's super fast, powerful, wiry, and he can run forever. He's got a massive forehand and a big serve.
We did some work last year with his volleys and his attacking game, and got him some confidence in that area. He got to the 80s in the world rankings, it was a great year for him in 2019. He qualified in so many tournaments. It was a very, very impressive effort.
He didn't always win main-draw matches when he qualified, but he got into about nine really big tournaments. He's not far away. This year is a crucial year for him. Most people will be watching him with interest."
Popyrin is currently ranked No. 96 in the world and will play Jaume Munar in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday. He will be hoping to reach the third round of the tournament for the second year in a row.