'Roger Federer would be easily the most popular', says former ace

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'Roger Federer would be easily the most popular', says former ace

"Finally, to tennis: I love you and I will never leave you": this is how Roger Federer closed his farewell letter from the sport in which he has played for more than twenty years. The Millennium had not yet begun when the Swiss tennis player entered the men's circuit: from then on, a domain that changed the history of this sport.

Twenty Grand Slam titles: eight Wimbledons, none like him; six Australian Open, five United States Open and a solo Roland Garros. Number one in the world for the first time on February 2, 2004, for a number of consecutive weeks of 237: in this, too, nobody like him.

Paying tribute to the greatness of the Swiss came a new Slam champion and a new world number one, Carlos Alcaraz. In his first social message, the Spanish tennis player limited himself to writing, through a post on Twitter, his name flanked by a broken heart.

Only later did the Iberian talent write a true message of thanks: for what the 20-time Slam champion represented for future generations, including himself. "Roger Federer is one of my idols and a source of inspiration!

Thank you for everything you have done in our sport! I still want to play with you. I wish you the best for what comes in the future," he wrote in a post on Instagram. The Spaniard made it clear in his social message that he still feels the desire to want to play against Roger Federer.

The sentence refers to a recent statement by Alcaraz. After his victory at the Us Open, the current number one had said that he would like to play against the former number one: "I would like to play against Federer."

Mats Wilander reflects on Federer

Eurosport expert Mats Wilander has hailed tennis legend Roger Federer, saying watching the Swiss superstar was as if Pavarotti sung Bob Dylan songs. “I was hoping that he might have another three or four events in him.

But at the same time, I think when we see the level that the game has gone to in the last couple of years, maybe he realises and we should realise that it's nearly impossible to get back to that level as 40, 41 year old.

So I guess yes, and of course, sad. But at the same time, I think I want to celebrate the fact that Roger Federer took our game to the very top of all sports, of professional athleticism, because Roger Federer was not only the greatest tennis player at a time of all time, he also was elected one of the greatest athletes in the world for a year or two.

Federer did three in one year three times and was by far the greatest athlete. I think it's the way he performed he will always be the most important greatest ambassador of our sport. And we cannot put him down as the greatest tennis player in terms of level, but he would be easily the most popular and the one that has affected and taken our sport into people's living room where people that have never even seen tennis before enjoyed him."