Melbourne - Roger Federer has warned rising Australian star Bernard Tomic that cracking the world's top 10 will be no easy task after the young Australian won his first ATP Tour title.
Tomic, who claimed his eighth straight win of the year in downing 36th-ranked South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3 at the Sydney International final on Saturday, believes he can achieve top 10 status by year's end.
But 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer is not so sure.
"I think we should go step by step, see how it goes," said the Swiss great.
"Let's speak in a year's time. Everybody wants to jump from, what's his ranking, 60, to 10 in a year. It's hard to do. Ten is a big ask.
"Don't forget how tough the top 10 players are right now."
Tomic heads to Melbourne for the Australian Open with his ranking down from 64 to 43 and with a chance of facing Federer in the third round.
It is a big turnaround for a player who was tipped to emerge as one of the new stars of tennis in 2012, but instead battled controversy on and off the court.
A quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 2011, his playing stocks plummeted when he was accused of tanking by former great John McEnroe in his 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 second-round loss to Andy Roddick at the US Open.
He was knocked out in the second round at the French Open and first round at Wimbledon, and won just seven of his last 21 matches of the season.
Off court, he was found guilty of failing to stop for police in January, just days after reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open in impressive fashion.
He again made headlines after a scuffle with a friend on his birthday in October.
Tomic said on Sunday he had learned from his mistakes.
"I learnt so much. Ups and downs. I had my ups at the start in January. But then I had my downs. I'll learn from my downs," he said.
"Lucky I learnt at my age, 20, not 25 and 28. I'm learning now. I'm happy I learnt everything and I can use it to get the best potential out of myself."
Ahead of a potential third round clash with Federer, the Swiss star cautioned that Tomic should only think about his first round match, against Argentina's Leonardo Mayer on Tuesday.
"He's got his work cut out, you know, in the first few rounds," he said.
"He will be making a mistake about thinking about me in the third round because he also has to get there."
Federer, the second seed at the opening Grand Slam of the season, is aiming to win his fifth Australian Open title.
"I would love to get in that position to play Roger in the third round," said Tomic.
"He has to get there as well," he added. "You don't know what can happen. Tennis is a funny sport. So we'll see."