Laver backs Federer to win Australian Open

January 29th, 2009 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Roger FedererMelbourne, Jan 29 (IANS) Tennis great Rod Laver has backed Swiss Roger Federer to win the Australian Open and equal Pete Sampras’s 14 Grand Slam titles. Laver was convinced that Federer will win his fourth Melbourne Park title after his epic five-setter against the Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych.

“I picked Roger to win this event but only through the experience level, having been here a bunch of times,” Laver, the only player to win career Grand Slam twice, was quoted as saying in Herald Sun.

“When he gets to the quarter-finals and semi-finals, his game seems to pick up and his errors get lost.

“If there’s an opportunity anywhere along the line, he seems to be able to take it.

“If he’s got a 15-40 on an opponent, he just doesn’t go out of bounds — he’s going to make the other players work to win that point and that’s the difference.

“There’s not much difference between the quality of their play when I look at (Novak) Djokovic or (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga or Andy Roddick or Rafael Nadal.

“There’s a lot of players in there that are very talented and to pull through all those, like when he’s (Federer) down two sets to (Tomas) Berdych, that’s just the mark of a champion,” he said.

Laver disagrees with the view that Federer, 27, is past his best.

“And he’s proved it many, many times that, no matter how long it takes, he’s not quitting,” Laver said.

“Pete Sampras has the record with 14. I think Roger will equal it here.

“There’s a lot of talk about Roger winning all four grand slams. I think Roger is thinking inwardly to himself that he’s capable of winning all four because he’s won three of them and he’s made the final of the French two or three times.

“So he’s not dreaming because he knows it’s possible.”

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