Andre Agassi views Roger Federer as the clear favourite to win Wimbledon this fortnight, but warned that the end of the Swiss career will be abrupt.
Federer is chasing a record ninth title at the All England Club, which would draw him level with Martina Navratilova as the most successful singles player in the prestigious tournaments history.
Few would bet against the defending champion doing exactly that and eight-time Grand Slam winner Agassi suspects it will be one of the usual favourites lifting the title, with his former student Novak Djokovic and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal – who is expected to enjoy the hotter conditions – also in the frame.
I got involved in the mens in the last nine months with Novak, I think everybody recognises that Roger is the favourite coming in, he tells Metro.co.uk. But you still have to get it done.
Im open for Novak to find his form. Id love to see Nadal get through the first week and settle into his own tennis because with this weather its going to be good for him.
Hopefully well take a stroll down memory lane and see a special final.
Its scarcely believable that Federer is still the favourite for Grand Slam titles with his 37th birthday a matter of weeks away but Agassi is less surprised after a shift in focus following his time in the sport.
I think if theres anything Ive seen happening in the game – people are investing in themselves more, he adds.
He has the game to make up for anything that age might start to get in his attention, he can get round some movement every now and then.
Hes kept himself healthy, hes kept himself efficient – he is remarkable and it amazes me probably more than most people because I remember being 36, retiring and it was abrupt.
I think it will be abrupt for him, I just dont know when because he looks the part and hes favourite here and its a pleasure to watch. Its really good for everyone to enjoy this time with him now.
Agassi, who won Wimbledon in 1992, was forced to call time on his career in 2006 after suffering a defeat to Benjamin Becker in the quarter-finals of the US Open – retiring at the same age that Federer is now.
Just the recovery, you know, it was not possible anymore, Agassi, the global ambassador for Lavazza, continues.
I would have a tough match, my back would stiffen up. I needed to come back a day later and I was 70% of myself and if I got through that match, I needed a day off.
If I didnt get that day off, it was going to get worse. You start needing luck – certain timings, you start pulling out of certain events and start negotiating your body clock.
Weve seen Roger doing that from a health perspective pulling out of the clay but he just seems to be coming back with the greatest of ease and thats going to last a period of time, Im thankful its here now.
There is an element of luck required to dominate sport at the top-level and Agassi admitted that the absence of multiple Grand Slam champions Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka has worked in his favour.
Its certainly an advantage, he smiles. When you combine a little bit of luck with greatness – its a lethal combination.
I think its fair to say that Roger deserves the credit he gets, even as of late. But it has helped to have a few guys hit a bit of a road block.
Thats part of his greatness, hes managed how to avoid it, hes been smart. When doctors have told him to take off two months, he takes off three months – I think thats key to longevity.
Agassi was speaking on behalf of Lavazza – the official coffee sponsor of Wimbledon.