Roger Federer's childhood friend and former teammate, Marco Chiudinelli, claims despite all the successes that the Swiss maestro has achieved in tennis, he is still the same person.
Federer further cemented his legacy when he experienced a career resurgence in 2017, winning his first Grand Slam since 2012 at the Australian Open.
The Swiss ace would go on to win another six titles, including a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon crown as he ended the year as the world number two, having started it in 16th.
Chiudinelli meanwhile, did not enjoy the same success as his compatriot. Despite winning the 2014 Davis Cup with Switzerland alongside Federer, the Fullinsdorf native's best singles achievement was a career-high 52 ranking and a semi-final exit at the Basel Open in 2009.
But the 36-year-old claims his friendship with Federer has remained the same since their childhood and that the 19-time Grand Slam winner still remains grounded despite his achievements.
"It's like a normal friendship," Chiudinelli told BZ via Tennis World USA. "The most important thing is the honesty, trusting each other.
"Nothing changed since he was very successful: he is still with feet on the ground. That's real. We do not meet each other often, but when we do, we spend a good time together."
Chiudinelli emotionally retired from tennis in October this year at the Basel Open after an injury-prone year with Federer in attendance.
"It's normal, we spent so much time together. I didn't want to miss this moment," Federer said before his friend's retirement. "In case of a defeat this would be Marco's last match...I needed to be here.
"It makes me sad because I have been knowing Marco for a lot of time. But you should not be sad because we should celebrate his career. I am happy that he found this moment. He is not 29 anymore and he can be proud."