Tennis legend Rod Laver does not expect Roger Federer to call time on his career after a poor season and has even backed the Swiss to win the 2014 Australian Open.
Federer has slipped to number six in the world rankings and is still chasing points to secure his place at the season-ending World Tour Finals.
The 32-year-old started 2013 with a semi-final appearance in Melbourne but that was as good as it got in terms of majors. He reached the last eight at the French Open but suffered early exits at Wimbledon and the US Open, much to the disappointment of fans watching live tennis online.
Despite his struggles this year, Laver is confident Federer will rediscover his best form and add to his 17 Grand Slam titles.
“I don’t foresee him saying he’s going to hang his rackets up because he’s had a bad year,” said the 75-year-old Australian, who won a record 200 singles titles.
“I think he’s going to look at this next January – and you might be surprised when you look at the champion of next year [at the Australian Open]. It might be Roger.”
Laver insisted Federer is playing good tennis but is just not winning the right points, a belief shared by some betting pundits on the bet365 website.
“You don’t have to win them all, just the right ones. He seemed like he was getting into the right position of winning the right points, but not winning them,” he added.
Meanwhile, Laver has urged compatriot, Bernard Tomic, not to waste his talent. The controversial 21-year-old has been criticised again this week for retiring from his first-round meeting with Mikhail Youzhny at the Valencia Open.
“I think when he looks back at things in five, 10 years from now, he may be disappointed with himself,” said Laver.
“Because if you don’t put your best effort in every time, you won’t know when the best time is to play your best tennis. There is no best time.”