The hockey and tennis worlds don’t overlap very often, so when they do, we have to take notice.
After his five-set victory over Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny at the US Open on Thursday, Roger Federer was asked about Devils first overall pick Nico Hischier, who, like Federer, is also from Switzerland.
“I mean, look, we’re happy in Switzerland that we have such a great hockey player in the starting blocks who is hopefully going to be a great, great player. Hope he stays healthy. I’m only hearing great things about him. He’s a good guy. Unbelievably talented. People predict a great future ahead of him.
“I had the same. It’s always easy to predict. But he’s the guy who has to put in the work and be the guy who does it every single night on the ice. That’s the tough thing about it. It’s always easy for people to talk, predict you’re going to be world No. 1, best goal-scorer. Doesn’t matter. You have to put your head down and just work as hard as you possibly can, have a great entourage around you. If he has any questions, I’m always happy to help. I’m happy he can be around here in New York. Amazing place. Not far from Switzerland, to be honest. It’s a short flight for a tennis player. He can still go back sometimes. But I wish him all the very best. Haven’t met him yet. I hope to meet him someday.”
Even though there’s a huge age gap between them, the two athletes can still relate. Federer, now 36, broke onto the ATP Tour in 1998, when he was only a teenager. Hischier, 18, is attempting to become an impact player in his sport as a teenager, too.
There was plenty of hype surrounding Federer when he was a youngster. Not only was he able to manage the expectations, he shattered them, as he’s up to 19 career Grand Slam victories in his career.
Now, it’s up to the Devils prospect to show that he’s capable of living up to the hype of being a first overall draft pick.