ROGER Federer believes success for China's men can inspire a generation in the world's most populous nation, which last year produced Asia's first grand slam singles champion.
At last week's China Open, Zhang Ze, ranked 154, shocked Frenchman Richard Gasquet to become the first Chinese man ever to beat a top 20 player.
"I always thought they were playing pretty good tennis. I'm not surprised to see some of them making their move, getting some decent wins now. That can inspire an entire generation. So it's good to see," he said.
"I have the feeling that once the Chinese male players break through, there could be quite a few of them. I'm not quite aware of how the whole coaching staff is organized here. I'm sure it's very professional," he said.
"I'm sure they're hard-working because that's what you have to be in this day and age to make it on the pro Tour."