Tennis

Federer doubts golden oldies’ Grand Slam success will be matched

Tennis legend Roger Federer believes it will be hard for the younger generation to emulate him and fellow veterans Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in winning multiple Grand Slams.

The 36-year-old Swiss, who holds the men's all-time record of Grand Slam titles with 20, was speaking to a small group of journalists in Monaco before winning two Laureus awards - Comeback of the Year and Sportsman of the Year - yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Laureus is a global movement that uses the power of sport to tackle the most devastating social challenges in the world.

Federer said the younger generation such as Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Dominic Thiem of Austria have the ability to win a Grand Slam, but 10 might be beyond them.

"It is definitely hard to see one player right now getting 10 Slams," he said.

"It is much easier to say that probably a lot of guys are going to win a Slam or two but winning 10 Slams is not something you can predict, people didn't predict that with me to be honest.

"Maybe with Rafa, with the French Open, you say yes he is going to grab a few there. Maybe he is going to win five (he has 10 to his name) as he was an amazing junior as well like Bjorn Borg, they were the best teenagers we ever had in the game."

Federer, who came to Monaco on the back of winning the Rotterdam title where he beat Dimitrov in the final, admitted fortunes can change with the slightest of tweaks.

"Once you get rolling like Novak and I did, all of a sudden you don't look back, then a few years later you do look back and you have eight or 10 Grand Slam titles, it's crazy," said the oldest world No. 1 in ATP history.

"Confidence and momentum are a big thing. When you unlock your game through success or a coach explains the one ingredient that is missing then that can change things."

Federer, however, believes the sport will not suffer once the likes of him, 16-time Major winner Nadal, 12-time Grand Slam Djokovic and Andy Murray hang up their rackets.

"Tennis always has a way of producing champions and the future has never worried me," he said.

"Someone will follow in our footsteps and be a champion.

"We are a shadow over the game, the top guys, and clearly we don't allow them (the younger ones) to completely flourish but, once we are gone, it will still be very, very exciting." - AFP

Tennis