Tiger Woods has praised tennis ace Roger Federer after his triumph at the 2017 Australian Open. The 14-time major champion believes that Rafael Nadal would have had a better chance to win if he had the same amount of rest that the 18-time Grand Slam winner got.
The Spaniard played a near five-hour semi-final against Grigor Dimitrov on Friday (27 January) which was a day after Federer had booked a place in the final with a win over Stan Wawrinka. The summit clash was played on Sunday, which gave the Swiss ace an extra day's rest compared to the 14-time Grand Slam winner. Nadal admitted after the loss that the lack of rest did play a minor part, but refused to blame it on the scheduling, which is confirmed when the draws are made prior to the start of the tournament.
Federer beat his long-time rival and friend in five sets to claim a famous win, one that he has admitted will be cherished among his best. Both players were surprised to have made the final as they were returning from injury setbacks and were not completely fit coming into the tournament. Especially the Swiss former world number one, as he was returning after a six-month absence due to a knee injury.
It was the first ranking tournament Federer played since his semi-final loss at Wimbledon in 2016 and Woods, who is also coming back from a lengthy layoff, believes that it is a tremendous achievement for a 35-year-old to get back into rhythm right from the first game.
"I didn't speak to Roger," Woods told Ten Golf, as translated by tennisworldusa.org. "I sent a short message to Rafa, who was obviously disappointed. He played with all his heart and I think the day off made a difference. At these levels it means so much. Rafa was a little bit tired and that's what happened. But in the Majors draws it works like this."
"What Rog has done is he's been dominant for so long. To compete against (Novak Djokovic), to compete against Rafa, and now Andy (Murray) is playing well. He's had a litany of guys who have won slams. And no one wins slams at his age. And for him to come back, after having to take that much time off, and for him to get the timing, that's the hardest part. As you get older, you change your game and you do things slightly differently, and he did that," the American golfer added.