McEnroe: Federer is best ever

ZURICH -- John McEnroe thinks Roger Federer is the best men's tennis player of all-time.

McEnroe, also considered one of the game's greats, said Tuesday he ranks the Swiss star ahead of Rod Laver, the only man to win all four Grand Slam events in one year, and seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras.

Promoting an ATP Champions Tour event in Zurich, McEnroe said Laver was his idol and Sampras was the greatest grass-court player ever. But the American left-hander said Federer, who has won a record 16 Grand Slam titles, was the greatest of all.

"I think we can all appreciate how incredible he is even more lately, because he's shown a bit more emotion on court and he's become a father so he seems a bit more human, more relatable," McEnroe told World Tennis Magazine of Federer. "That makes what he's doing seem even more amazing."

McEnroe said Federer's ability to average two Grand Slam titles a year was "phenomenally consistent and amazing."

"It's difficult to pick out one of his achievements as the best because they're all so incredible," McEnroe told the magazine. "But I would probably say the 23 semis or better in a row is the best record of them all. There's probably not another player in the top 20 who's even played 23 straight majors in a row. Then throw in the fact that he got to 18 out of 19 finals and that he's averaging two Grand Slam titles a year, it's just phenomenally consistent. It's amazing."

McEnroe did acknowledge that no one stays on top forever, however.

"When you've won as much as he has you have to wonder how he will react when he starts losing regularly at major events -- not reaching finals or semis," McEnroe told the magazine. "That's not going to be easy for him. But, he seems to take great care of his body, the way he moves doesn't put a lot of strain on the body so you would think he would be able to play at this top level a few more years. I hope so, because we are lucky to have him."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.