Rod Laver calls Roger Federer 'certainly the greatest player' ever

By @saihoops on
Roger Federer
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne, Australia, January 29, 2018. Roger Federer of Switzerland poses with the men's singles trophy during the winner's photoshoot at the government house in Melbourne, Australia. Reuters / Issei Kato

Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, who won 11 Grand Slams between 1960 and 1969, is convinced that Roger Federer has cemented himself as the greatest player in the history of the sport. Federer had added another feather to his cap on Sunday by winning a 20th record Grand Slam title at the 2018 Australian Open.

Laver believes Federer has surpassed World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who is second on the all-time list with 16 Grand Slam championships. Though Nadal has won 10 French Open crowns, the Spaniard hasn't dominated the sport across different surfaces, the way Federer has for nearly two decades.

“For me, I think Roger Federer is certainly the greatest player that has come along. Yes, we’ve got lots of great players -- look at (Rafael) Nadal with a record that says ‘I’ve just won 10 French Opens’, and you can’t sort of push that under the mat. But I think Roger plays is greatest tennis on the big occasions, on any surface. He’s stood the test of time -- that’s probably the one thing that puts you in that category of the best ever," Laver said, via The Express.

A year ago, Federer and Nadal returned from career-threatening injuries to dominate the ATP season, splitting two Grand Slam titles apiece. The new season has started, and the two icons are still atop the apex of tennis. Nadal will now enter the French Open as the favourite, with a chance to increase his Grand Slam tally to 17. In June, Federer will be the favourite to win his record eighth Wimbledon title. 

"That’s one of the things that he has done. He loves the game, and everything he does around his life is somewhere related to all the great (things he has done). It’s just unusual to see a wonderful champion like that be able to win at age 36 after seven tough matches.  You just marvel at his tenacity and his floating ability on the court. He just seems like he’s floating all around the court — he’s not running. That’s something else," added Laver.

Roger Federer captured 2018 Australian Open championship Sunday in front of a capacity crowd at the Rod Laver Arena. In a tough battle that lasted three hours, Federer beat World No. 6 Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to win his sixth title at Melbourne Park and second consecutive Australian Open crown.