© Getty Images
Swiss legend Roger Federer idolized Rod Laver. © Getty Images

Melbourne, Jan 25 (AFP) Roger Federer says words of support from the legendary Rod Laver are motivating him as he pursues yet more Grand Slam glory in the twilight of his fabled career. Laver was watching the Swiss great’s late-night fourth round match against Belgium’s David Goffin on his self-titled Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open on Sunday. Although Federer’s three-set victory did not end until after midnight, the 77-year-old Australian legend, known as ‘Rocket’, was in the president’s box taking it all in.

Laver, who is the only man to twice win all four Grand Slams in a calendar year, has suggested that Federer could be the finest tennis player of all time. The Swiss star idolises him and once famously sobbed on his shoulder as he was presented with the trophy for winning the 2006 Australian Open. “It’s just a pleasure seeing legends around, to be quite honest. The Rocket is somebody very special in the game of tennis, to me anyway,” he said.
“The building’s named after him. Deserves it clearly. Seeing him in person, showing up, coming to say hello to me, seeing him a couple times (this month) before the matches in Brisbane. After the Brisbane final, he came to see me in the locker room. He wanted to chat about the final, see how I was doing,” Federer said.

“He wished me well for recovery, for the Aussie Open, that we’re going to see each other again here (in Melbourne).” Federer added of the ‘Rocket’: “He’s too nice of a guy. Almost beyond. Here again he came before the match to wish me well. Clearly it’s motivating, to say the least.” Federer, the men’s record holder with 17 Grand Slams, has won four Australian Opens, but the 34-year-old’s last major success was at Wimbledon in 2012.

Idol Laver’s support motivating Federer
He faces Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych in his 47th Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open on Tuesday.