SHANGHAI (AP) — Despite Roger Federer's recent drop in play, Rod Laver thinks the Swiss star is still the greatest player of his generation.
Laver, the only tennis player to achieve the Grand Slam twice, said Federer's consistency over the six to eight years at the top is what sets him apart from contemporaries such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
"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 Thursday at the Shanghai Masters.
The Australian won the Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969. He remains the only man to have won it in the Open era, which started in 1968, but 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, who made his first trip to China to attend the Shanghai Masters, sat courtside as Federer lost in the third round to Gael Monfils of France 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3.
He said before the match that he can empathize with the trouble Federer has had staying near the top of the game and contending for majors at age 32.
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