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Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 12:16 UK

Henman on Federer

By Tim Henman
Former British number one

Roger Federer
I really wouldn't be surprised if he kicks on again and wins some more Grand Slam titles

I've said many times that not only is Roger Federer the best player I ever played, he is the best that ever played.

Now he has the French Open title, that just cements it - and I couldn't be more pleased for him.

I always felt that the distraction of getting married and starting a family would help him more than hinder him.

He seemed so consumed with trying to win the French and breaking Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slams, to have a distraction would be a good thing.

He must feel like he's almost floating on air now and I really wouldn't be surprised if he kicks on again and wins some more Grand Slam titles. He is still only 27 after all.

I played against him and Sampras but what puts Federer ahead is that his game is complete.

Sampras was a phenomenal player and his record speaks for itself but you always felt there were aspects of his game that you could target.


Sampras never really returned that well, so as long as you were being disciplined on your serve, you could stay in touch, get to a tie-break and then anything can happen.

Against Federer, whether you were serving or returning, you knew you had to work unbelievably hard for every point, every game.

Winning in Paris just emphasises that he is the ultimate all-court player.

Not only that, he is also a great guy. It's sickening, isn't it?

Most of the players were willing him to win the French Open. He is so down to earth and has a very good sense of humour.

I think one of the reasons he is so popular among the players is that he speaks four languages fluently so he can communicate with everyone.

Federer and Nadal are the best ambassadors we have ever had at the top of the game.

Roger Federer

Federer delighted to win French Open

They are both so humble - and very accessible.

I thought their reaction after the Australian Open final said it all.

Some people were a bit critical of Federer for bursting into tears but that is Roger, he is such an emotional person and it emphasises how much it means to him.

I beat him in the final of Basle in 2001 and he was crying his eyes out in the ceremony because it was his hometown tournament and he had never won it. He was so disappointed.

Then you have got Nadal, his greatest rival, who stuck his arm around him in Melbourne and said "don't worry, I've been there and you're still the best player that's ever lived".

For those two guys to have that intense rivalry and at the same time have that much respect and genuine like for each other, it's amazing. I have never seen it before.

Tim Henman was speaking to BBC Sport's Caroline Cheese. Henman will be part of the BBC's commentary team for Wimbledon 2009, which begins on 22 June.

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see also
Federer is the greatest - Rusedski
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Federer claims historic Paris win
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Federer never doubted Paris win
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Sampras leads tributes to Federer
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Federer the greatest ever - Lloyd
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French Open day 15 pictures
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Federer v Soderling as it happened
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Federer battles into French final
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Soderling in final after thriller
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Nadal stays calm after shock loss
31 May 09 |  Tennis
Champion Nadal falls to Soderling
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Nadal storms to fourth French win
08 Jun 08 |  Tennis
How Nadal beats Federer on clay
09 Jun 08 |  Skills

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