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Goffin prepares for Sunday worship with Federer

Roger Federer remembers the day he launched himself into tennis's collective consciousness when he walked out to face his hero Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001 and beat him.

On Sunday the boot will be firmly on the other foot when the Swiss maestro takes on young Belgian David Goffin in the French Open fourth round.

The 21-year-old Goffin is the first lucky-loser to reach the fourth round of a grand slam since 1995 and grew up idolizing Federer as the Swiss stamped his mark on men's tennis by winning a record 16 grand slams.

Now he has the chance to do to Federer what the then 19-year-old Federer did to Sampras and upset a strong favorite early in a grand slam.

"I've been watching Roger playing on telly for so many years," he told reporters after beating Poland's Lukasz Kubot on Friday.

"Roger has always been my favorite. He has perfect tennis, perfect technique, and I like the man. From a human standpoint, he is a great person, whether on the court or outside the court.

"So I expect a very difficult match on Sunday.

"If I say yes (I have a chance) I will sound arrogant; if I say no, you'll say I lack ambition. We'll see."

Goffin goes into the clash high on confidence after exceeding expectations while the number three seed is perhaps looking over his shoulder having reached the fourth round with an edgy and unconvincing victory over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

Federer, however, knows exactly what it is like to play a former idol.

"I would have loved to play (Boris) Becker and (Stefan) Edberg," he said.

"They were the ones for me growing up that I looked at and sort of idolized, and obviously Pete came along and I had a chance to play against him, which was just amazing.

"I played him on Centre Court at Wimbledon. That was my first appearance there. That was great stuff."

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Pritha Sarkar)