Paris: Roger Federer believes baby-faced David Goffin, who gave him an almighty French Open scare on Sunday, has the weapons to become a future Grand Slam contender.
Belgian world number 109 Goffin, just 21, and who had sneaked into the main draw at Roland Garros having lost in qualifying, had been just two points from taking a two sets to love lead over the 16-time Grand Slam title winner.
But once Federer broke him for the first time in the match, the Swiss went on to a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 win and a place in a record 32nd consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final.
"Yes, of course, he can be a champion. It takes weeks of hard labour but I was impressed by the way he plays," said Federer.
"It's nice to see someone do it at a Grand Slam again for a change, because back in the day we were used to seeing Becker winning Wimbledon, Chang winning the French Open at very young ages. It just doesn't happen so often anymore.
"I still haven't seen him enough. I wish he comes through. He's very talented and I hope he can make it to the top 20. That would be great."
Federer said he had seen plenty to admire during an awkward examination on Suzanne Lenglen court.
"He's got great potential in terms of his touch and the way he reads the game. He moves well, takes a backhand early and absorbs pace really well from the baseline."
Goffin had played three matches in the qualifying tournament but after losing to Portugal's Joao Sousa in the final round, it appeared his Roland Garros was over.
However, he was handed a late lifeline as a lucky loser when French star Gael Monfils withdrew with an injury.
He seized his opportunity, defeating 27th-seeded Czech Radek Stepanek, French veteran Arnaud Clement and Poland's Lukasz Kubot on his way to the last 16.
Goffin was the first lucky loser to reach a Grand Slam fourth round since compatriot Dick Norman at Wimbledon in 1995.
"It was a very nice match. I was tired by the end because I have played a lot of matches at this tournament," said Goffin.
"But I have no regrets, I gave it all I could."
Goffin, who covered his bedroom wall with posters of Federer when he was growing up in Liege, admitted that he will cherish the match and its aftermath, which saw the pair embrace at the net, for years to come.
"It was a great moment which I will never forget, but I hope to have more moments like it."
There were compensations despite the defeat.
Goffin earned his biggest pay cheque to date of 80,000 euros ($99,400) and will see his ranking move up to 68 in the world.
Federer, the 2009 champion, meanwhile, goes on to face either Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina or Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic for a place in the semi-finals.