Three-time Australian Open champion Rod Laver has declared Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time, after he secured his 20th Grand Slam title last night.
Federer defeated Marin Čilić in a five-set classic, 6-2 6-7 6-3 3-6 6-1, at the Australian Open final, cementing his status as one of the game’s icons.
According to Laver, there is no one better than Federer, due to his ability to maintain such a high standard later in his career.
“I think Roger Federer is the greatest player that has come along,” he told Whateley.
“We have lots of great players, but I think Roger plays his greatest tennis on the big occasions on any surface.
“He has stood the test of time, that’s the one thing that puts you in the category of the best ever.
“To win at age 36, after seven tough matches, you marvel at his tenacity and his floating ability on the court. It seems like he is floating, not running, around the corner.”
After injuries threatened to derail the backend of Federer’s career 18 months ago, the six-time Australian Open champion has managed to turn it around, and could be in his best ever form.
“I marvel at him because at the age of 36 he is playing the best tennis he has played,” Laver said.
“About five-to-six years ago he played some unbelievably good tennis but he didn’t have that same backhand that he has now.
“His volley ability at the net and around the court, you think where did he learn all this because he stayed at the baseline for the most part in his early years.
“Now he is shortening the points and that’s the difference in being able to hold your fitness level and have your leg strong for a long match.
“A five-setter yesterday, you would have thought someone at age 36 would be dragging a little bit but in the fifth set, it seemed like he was just as powerful as he was when the game started.”
Laver reckons Federer’s “presence” is his greatest asset, as he strives to strengthen his grip atop of the all-time men’s Grand Slam titles leaderboard.
Listen to Rod Laver’s chat with Gerard Whateley in the player below!