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Rod Laver says Roger Federer is greatest of his generation

October 10, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • Rod Laver, front center, watches play at the Shanghai Masters.
Rod Laver, front center, watches play at the Shanghai Masters. (Ng Han Guan / Associated…)

The man who won all four Grand Slam tennis events in a single year -- twice -- Rod Laver, says there is no argument in his mind who is the greatest player of this generation: Roger Federer.

“When I look at Federer, with what he's accomplished, against the competition that he's
accomplished it with, I'd have to say I would think that Roger is the greatest player,” Laver said while attending the Shanghai Masters on Thursday in China.

And while Rafael Nadal has a 21-10 career advantage over Federer, Laver doesn't think he has the complete body of work that Federer has accumulated.

Laver won the Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969 and remains the only man to have won it in the Open era, which started in 1968. He was quick to add he's not sure he can call Federer the greatest of all time.

“I've always said if you're the best in your era, that's as good as you really can do. You could take it back to 'Is it Fred Perry, is it Don Budge, is it myself that came
along?'"

Laver said that he can empathize with the trouble Federer has had staying near the top of the game and contending for majors at age 32. Laver recalls when he reached his 30s, he could play excellent one day and have nothing left the next.

"Is it the desire? Is it your emotion, does it come up? Is your adrenaline not flowing as
well as it normally does in a match?" he said. “I don't know whether Roger's feeling anything of that nature. But sometimes I notice him, he just doesn't have it that day. But the day before he was magnificent."

Since Laver did it, many men have been close to the Grand Slam by winning three of the four majors, including Federer (2004, '06, '07), Nadal (2010) and Djokovic (2011), but none has been able to win all four in a single season. 

“When I look at the way Nadal plays on grass, clay and hard courts, especially this year, he's
obviously one that can win it,” Laver said. “The only reason why Federer didn't win a Grand Slam was because of Nadal on clay.”

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