Vasek Pospisil takes little more than a nanosecond to tell you how many Grand Slam singles titles tennis great Roger Federer has accumulated.
“Sixteen,” a grinning Pospisil correctly replied when asked that question Tuesday, after winning his first-career ATP World Tour singles match at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
The 21-year-old Canadian's next challenge? Finding an answer to Federer himself Wednesday on the hard court of Uniprix Stadium.
“It's never going to be easy when you're playing the best player of all time,” said Pospisil, who upset 22nd-ranked Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Pospisil, ranked No. 155 in the world, is enjoying a breakout season and plans to continue his run in Montreal — even if that means getting past the legendary former No. 1.
“Of course, it will be tough,” the native of Vernon, B.C., said about the 30-year-old Federer, who's No. 3 in the ATP rankings.
“But I will try my best. I would like to make it difficult for him.”
When he steps onto the court, Pospisil will become the third Canadian to square off against Federer at a Rogers Cup — Daniel Nestor did it in 2000 and Frederic Niemeyer in 2009.
Coincidentally, Niemeyer also happens to be Pospisil's coach and the young player plans to pick his brain before Wednesday's match.
Pospisil also has his own Federer experience to draw on — he hit balls with him in a warm up before the Swiss player's semifinal match at the 2008 Australian Open.
“He was treating me like I was one of them,” he said.
“I was just like a junior, hadn't really accomplished much at the time. So I was just really impressed with that, how humble he was. Yeah, I'll never forget that experience.”
Pospisil began 2011 ranked No. 340 in the world with a goal to break into the top-200 — a barrier he crossed earlier this summer.
Confidence has continued to build in a player who has already played against some of the world's best — in the Davis Cup and even in the Rogers Cup.
During last year's Rogers Cup, he and fellow Canadian Milos Raonic upset Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic — the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked players in the world, respectively — in their doubles match.
“Every centre-court experience is good and I'm sure it helps for the next time for nerves and stuff,” he said, noting that singles and doubles matches are very different.
“Yeah, at the same time I've been playing well lately.”
Unfortunately, none of Pospisil's family members could make it out to Tuesday's match, but there's added incentive for them to come to the stadium to watch him play Federer.
“Yeah, maybe they'll come tomorrow. I don't know,” said Pospisil, as he made an unsuccessful attempt to hide a big smile.Report Typo/Error