The bronze statue in honor of the Australian legend Rod Laver has been opened at Melbourne Park after a 18 month work. Lis Johnson, the sculptor of the statue, said, 'Rod Laver’s international iconic status is daunting and I was anxious about creating a worthy tribute.'
Laver remarked, 'It's fantastic. Lis Johnson has done a great job, he really understood the essence of my game. Hopefully it will be attactive for people and encourage them to have a racket in their hands.'
The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion also had an interesting opinion about Roger Federer, who came back to the competition on Monday at the Hopman Cup. Analyzing his chances in the first Grand Slam event of the season, Laver told reporters, 'It’s hard. Someone like Roger has so much talent. At 35 he might not of lost a step but you’ve lost that confidence that you can retrieve what you used to get so easily', the former Australian legend told reporters. 'You have to think about it a bit more and that perhaps creates any apprehension in his game. I think that’s the only thing he needs to think about, not about whether I’m fit enough, but can you play confidently when the chips are down? I did see the [Alexander] Zverev match last night and to play three tie-break sets against someone so strong when you’ve just come back is tough. I think he’s capable here, it depends on the draw really. If he has a lot of tough matches early on, then he might not have the best left in him nearer the final. But I think he’s certainly capable of winning another slam.'
Laver also spoke about Nick Kyrgios: 'Ability-wise, he could be the best tennis player in the world, only he is the one that gets in his way. He plays some magnificent tennis but then something gets in the way and he finds himself being challenged by other things, whether behaviour or whatever seems to come up. Looking at maybe (his) maturity, he's still very young on the world tour. I want him to be the best player in the world. We need another great Australian champion.'