Roger Federer's credentials as the Greatest Of All Time have been the subject of intense discussion for a long time. Rod 'Rocket' Laver has now weighed in on the subject too, calling Federer the predominant player of this era but adding that the Swiss' two main rivals could catch up to him in the future.
One of the biggest legends in the sport, Rod Laver is the only player to win the Calendar Grand Slam twice. Many considered the Aussie to be the best of all time until Pete Sampras amassed a record 14 Majors and then three other players surpassed Sampras too.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are currently tied at 20 Slams each, the most in men's tennis history. They are followed closely by Novak Djokovic, who has won 17.
While speaking with Fox Sports, Rod Laver mentioned Roger Federer's stellar record as a reason to consider him the greatest - not only of this era, but of all eras.
"For me, I think Roger Federer is the champion of his era," Laver said. "I think he’s certainly, you know, you look at his record and there’s a lot to say he’s the best of all time."
While Roger Federer is absent from the ongoing Australian Open due to a knee injury, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are both through to the quarterfinals and could add to their title count this week. In that context, Rod Laver is not ruling out the possibility of the status quo changing in the future, as the Spaniard and the Serb continue to chase further Grand Slam glory.
"But give some of the other guys a little bit more time, maybe they’ll come up and meet and be as good as Roger," Laver added. "Djokovic is certainly on his way (along with Nadal), because he won a huge amount of tournaments and his consistency is amazing."
Rod Laver believes Roger Federer will still be a factor at Wimbledon and the US Open this year
Roger Federer has been away from the circuit for almost a year, and is scheduled to return early next month at the Doha event. On Monday, it was announced that the 39-year-old had also entered the ATP 500 series event in Dubai, the week after Doha.
Rod Laver has a developed a close personal equation with Roger Federer over the years, and the Swiss even named Team8's showcase event after the Australian legend. Laver believes that Federer, who has talked about playing on the tour until the age of 40 in their personal discussions, can still add to his trophy cabinet when he returns.
"Roger, when I chatted to him the past year or so, he thought he’d play his best until he’s 40 and I think he’s pretty much on it," Laver said. "Unfortunately, you know, his knee has been giving him some trouble. So he had an operation on the knee that will set him in good position."
While Laver believes Federer has very little chance of picking up another Roland Garros trophy, he claimed that the Swiss is a strong candidate for the last two Slams of the year.
"I wouldn’t think too much about him winning the French, but I think Wimbledon is certainly going to be there and the US Open," the Aussie legend said. "I think he can win more tournaments."