Former world number one Boris Becker has revealed that he would have loved to play Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in their prime as every top sportsman wants to test himself against the best in the business.
Becker had his rivalries against the likes of Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe during his time, who have established themselves as some of the best the game has ever produced. He also made reference to the likes of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, who were the ones to beat before the turn of the century, following which the Swiss and Nadal took the stage by storm.
"I would love to have played in this era. To play Rafa Nadal, to play Roger Federer would have been great. Every top sportsman wants to test himself against the best in whatever he does and clearly, we have some of the greatest players ever to play tennis in the sport right now," Becker told Tennis 365.
"You want to test your own boundaries, see how good you are. I had some great rivalries in my day. [Ivan] Lendl and [John] McEnroe were not too bad at the game and the same goes for [Pete] Sampras and [Andre] Agassi. My great rival at Wimbledon was always Stefan Edberg and I'm happy with the career I had."
Federer is aiming to become the oldest world number one in tennis at Rotterdam, beating Andre Agassi's record. The 36-year-old, on the back of his 20th Grand Slam win at the Australian Open, needs only to make the semi-finals at Rotterdam to prise the number one spot away from Nadal, who is recovering from a hip injury and does not play again until Acapulco.
However, despite his incredible career, Becker believes that the likes of Federer have been helped by the advent of modern racquets, which help them play shots that were otherwise not possible with their wooden counterparts back then.
The wooden racket made it more difficult for the player to hit the ball with accuracy, leading to more mistakes. The German is therefore keen for the duo to play with a wooden racket for once to see how it affects their game.
"It makes it difficult, for sure. I started with a wooden racket and you simply could not do some of the things guys like Federer and Nadal have done in recent years using that type of equipment," he added.
"It would not have been possible. So they would have had to adapt their styles. I would love to see Federer and Nadal play a match with a wooden racket and see how they get on."