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'Time on Federer's side to be the greatest'

Rod Laver says he won't be betting against Roger Federer becoming the all-time Grand Slam winner.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2006 18:41 IST

Tennis great Rod Laver says he won't be betting against Roger Federer becoming the all-time Grand Slam winner.

The Australian 11-times Grand Slam singles champion, who presented the Australian Open trophy to a tearful Federer on Sunday, said tennis was lucky to have the Swiss star as its champion.

Asked if the seven-time Grand Slam winner could overhaul American Pete Sampras' 14 major titles, Laver said: "Well, it's certainly amazing how well he plays in the finals. I wouldn't bet against him."

Laver, 67, one of the revered figures of tennis as the only man to have won two Grand Slams of all four majors in 1962 and 1969, met Federer for the first time during the Open here and was greatly impressed with him.

"Oh, yeah, I think so. Not only the way he speaks, he speaks so well about the game and enjoys it, but that his game speaks a tremendous amount," Laver told reporters on Sunday.

"You can see he's enjoying the game and playing just as he sees it and plays beautifully.

First Published: Jan 29, 2006 18:41 IST