In a press conference at the BNP Paribas Open. Roger Federer commented on Karen Khachanov's improvements and progresses. The Russian could have been the Swiss player's opponent if he beat Rafael Nadal on Friday, which did not happen.
Federer sees a bright future for the 22-year-old: "I think his win in Paris was massive for him", said the Swiss. "Just getting through somebody of Novak Djokovic's calibre in the finals I think must have given him all the confidence he ever needed for the next coming years, that he knows he can bring it right then.
You know, he's a big and strong guy. He obviously can serve well when he needs to. His backhand is strong. His forehand is very extreme grip, but he gets around it very quickly. When he's feeling it, I think he's very tough to play.
That's maybe also why, still, because he's younger and all that, you know, and expectations have risen. Maybe just at the beginning of the year, it's not been clicking, but it's just a matter of time until he finds it back again.
So I like how he plays. I played him in Halle. It should have been three sets. He hit a forehand to push me into a third [sic] in '17. So I have a lot of respect for him." Khachanov has been going through some racquet changes and he's testing out.
I was wondering how much difference tiny details in racquet changes can make in your experience? "Yeah, it's the extension of the arm, essentially, and your hand. So from that standpoint, the question is you always have to ask yourself, is your racquet and your mind going to be aligned at 5-All in the third set at 30-All? Can you hit it into the corner? Some days you just can't.
That's nothing to do with the racquet. But that's why racquet changes need to be taken very seriously and at the right time of the year and with the right mindset, a positive one, not one in frustration."