PARIS (AFP) - World number one Novak Djokovic gave teenage French Open trailblazer Boran Coric a ringing endorsement Thursday by declaring: "He reminds me of me".
Coric, 18, became the youngest player to reach the third round in Paris since Marat Safin in 1998 when he defeated veteran Spaniard Tommy Robredo, a four-time quarter-finalist, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
"I like Coric and how he approaches matches. He has a very mature mindset for somebody that is only 18," said Djokovic.
"I practised with him quite a lot in the last couple of months, and he does remind me of myself a little bit at that age."
Coric, the world 46, broke into the top 50 on the eve of Roland Garros and has now made the third round of a major for the first time.
The signs of his talent have been in evidence for a few months now - at Basel in 2014, he defeated childhood idol Rafael Nadal before beating Andy Murray in Dubai earlier this year.
He was the youngest player in the top 100 at the end of 2014 having improved his ranking by 276 places in the world in just 12 months.
Coric also cites former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson as an inspiration, a fact not lost on Djokovic who is in the same quarter of the draw at Roland Garros as the youngster.
"He's a great fighter, very solid from the baseline, both sides. He's improving his serve, as I have seen," said the top seed.
"He does have a very professional, very mature way of approaching, not just matches, but tennis life in general, which is nice to see for somebody his age.
"It's not that usual to see that. I think he's going to be very, very good."