Tennis Expert & Columnist
Roger Federer's 'undiminished' passion for tennis is remarkable, says Mark Petchey
“He does play like the cliché - like he is broke - and yet he has got everything. He could stay at home tomorrow and it wouldn’t matter, it wouldn’t change his legacy"
Last Updated: 19/02/18 3:02pm
Mark Petchey has praised Roger Federer's "undiminished" passion for tennis late on in his career after the Swiss superstar became the oldest world No 1 in the sport's history.
The 36-year-old will move to the summit of men's tennis for the first time in more than five years on Monday after he defeated Robin Haase 4-6 6-1 6-1 to reach the Rotterdam Open semi-finals.
Federer, who has won three of the last five Grand Slam titles including a record-extending 20th Grand Slam title, accepted a wildcard into the 500 event and took a full advantage of the opportunity to overtake great rival Rafael Nadal and also replace Andre Agassi as the oldest player at the top of the ATP rankings.
Tennis analyst Petchey was full of praise for the dedication and commitment Federer continues to show despite his already glittering career, saying: "I think the most impressive and inspirational thing is he is the guy who has everything.
"From a super supportive beautiful wife, four great kids, to more material wealth than you could ever wish to hope for and yet he almost still plays now as though he is looking to make his mark on the game or make his first paycheck.
"He does play like the cliché - like he is broke - and yet he has got everything. He could stay at home tomorrow and it wouldn't matter, it wouldn't change his legacy.
"You watch him out there, he is a set down and his passion for the game is undiminished and when you think of the miles on the clock and everything he has done it is remarkable."
Immediate attention now turns to what Federer can still accomplish in the sport and Petchey believes a tilt at a second French Open title will be on his mind, so long as it is not to the detriment of his Grand Slam ambitions later in the season.
On the subject of aiming for a first French Open title at Roland Garros since 2009, Petchey said: "I think it is a difficult choice for him. He respects the sport so much that actually, he would love to play.
"There were a couple of things he said last year which I think were pretty pertinent and revealing.
"One was don't think I have given up on the world No 1 ranking and he has obviously achieved that now.
"Second was don't think I won't be back at the French. I think there is a part of him that would love to but if he thinks it is going to hamper his potential to win at Wimbledon then I think he will give it a miss.
"Right now when you watch him play he has got to be the favourite at Wimbledon and the US Open. His best is better than everyone else out there right now until the others come back from their injuries and get themselves back to match fitness.
"It is going to be an interesting time. He has achieved so much in the last eighteen months and you look at what he has just done now to keep it rolling."
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