Time and Tony are on Rodger?s side

AUSSIE tennis legend and all-round nice guy Tony Roche has words of caution for anybody naming Rodger Federer the greatest male player of all time.

"Only time will tell," the world number one's coach told the Coffs Coast Advocate, "and he has plenty of time on his side."

Roche will be guest of honour for the Road to Wimbledon dinner at Quality Resort Nautilus on October 11 and will stay on for a coaching clinic.

"It's a pleasure to be invited back to Coffs," he said.

"I haven't been here for so long and it's such a pity time doesn't permit getting back to the grassroots as much as I'd like to."

To say this icon of the game leads a hectic life is pure understatement.

Beside coaching Federer, media and Davis Cup commitments, Roche has become a sounding board for the national game at a time many of his vintage are finding a place to relax in the sun.

But with Federer his main concern, Roche feels the Swiss sensation has a long way to go before he matches even the feats of his near contemporaries.

"What Rodger does in the next six years, providing he stays healthy, will determine his place in history," Roche said.

"Pete Sampras and his 14 Grand Slams is the yardstick.

"Rodger has to keep collecting tournaments and prove himself on different surfaces.

"If he does well at the French Open it will go a long way towards showing his versatility."

Following the dinner on October 11, Roche will conduct lessons the following day before flying out on Wednesday evening.

The coaching sessions will be open to the public with details available from Quality Resort Nautilus on 6653 6699.

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