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Rediff.com  » Sports » Laver marvels at Federer

Laver marvels at Federer

January 28, 2009 14:55 IST

Jelena Dokic's fairytale comeback at the Australian Open has received the royal stamp of approval from Australia's greatest player Rod Laver.

Laver, who completed the Grand Slam as an amateur in 1962 and again as a professional in 1969, said he has been captivated by her roller-coaster ride into the quarter-finals after years away from the sport.

"It's unbelievable what she's done this two weeks, to be able to play under pressure like that," Laver told reporters on Wednesday.

"To come back from the depression or just not being able to compete was quite uncanny."

Dokic's emotionally-charged run was ended by the in-form Russian Dinara Safina on Tuesday.

Laver, in Australia to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his second Grand Slam, was also full of praise for the sport's modern champions Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"Roger has certainly been a credit to the game. It's just unbelievable the consistency that he's had," Laver said.

"All the shotmaking, he's probably got some of the best mechanics in the game of tennis.

"He can play at the net, he can play at the baseline, he's got movement, he's quick. It seems like he's improved his serve through this last year.

"You look at Nadal, who is a great talent. It's just amazing what he can do on a clay court and now he's providing it on grass and a hard court now.

"He's in his own right a great champion. Roger's not going to have it his own way now. He's got a lot of players to beat."

Laver, now 70, is reluctant to speculate whether he would have been able to beat Federer at his peak but is certain about one thing.

"Put a wooden racket back in his hand would be the first thing I would have to do," the Australian said.

"Wood is so totally different. It's a smaller head. We had more errors I'm sure than today's players.

"To see what they do is just incredible. They've perfected the way of using this racket now. You play with what you're given.

"To try and put myself in today's world as a tennis player, it's almost impossible to know."

Source:
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