Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe spent a combined 279 weeks at No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and they lifted 143 tour-level titles between them.
On Thursday, they paid tribute to fellow legend Roger Federer, who will retire after the Laver Cup this week. The three-day event will provide the setting for the Swiss star’s last dance, with the former World No. 1 competing for the final time when he takes to court with Rafael Nadal in doubles on Friday night.
Speaking at Team Europe’s pre-tournament press conference, captain Borg reflected on Federer’s 25-year career.
“What Roger did for tennis, he did so much PR for the sport, in general,” Borg said. “One of the greats, all these guys here, but to promote the sport itself — no one is bigger than the sport itself — but what he did for the sport all around the world, it’s amazing. We should all be proud.”
Team World captain McEnroe was also quick to share his thoughts on Federer, praising the 103-time tour-level titlist’s longevity and influence on the sport.
“There is a void that will never be filled,” McEnroe said. “Winning Wimbledon or [the] US Open, he’s done that so often to such late an age, which is amazing… I remember six years ago when he limped off the court at Wimbledon, and then he ended up winning, didn’t play for six months, and won three majors in the next 18 months. Then he had match point on Novak at Wimbledon, two of them.
“So this is beyond belief what he and the other two guys have done. He doesn’t need my advice. He’s in a great position. He’s a total class act. We all know that. He loves the sport. That’s part of why he won so much, in my book. He loves it.”
Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup
With the words of Borg and McEnroe ringing in his ears, Federer will be aiming to guide Team Europe to a fifth consecutive victory against Team World at the tournament, held from Friday through Sunday.