Tennis legend Jim Courier has spoken of his admiration for Swiss maestro Roger Federer and compared the him to a ballerina in an interview with World Tennis Magazine.
The 33-year-old has replicated the form of yesteryear during 2014, having reached the final of Wimbledon in July and made the last four in the Australian and US Open.
He is currently ranked as the second best player on the planet behind Serbian powerhouse Novak Djokovic, and could yet win an 18th Grand Slam if he repeat the same performances of this year in 2015.
Courier won four Grand Slam titles between the years of 1991 and 1993, and was full of praise for a player many consider to be the greatest to ever grace the game. "The amount of energy that Roger uses to hit a shot is way less than what used by Rafael Nadal when hitting his strokes," he said.
"Federer interprets tennis as if it was a dance, a ballet on the court. Credit must be given to those who taught Roger to play that way. Currently Federer is fighting against time, and even though time has never been beaten, he is putting up quite a fight."
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Courier also believes Federer's style of play has helped him prolong his career in a way that may not be possible for Nadal.
The Spaniard's career has been successful but marred by injuries, with 2014 having been no exception.
He made the final in Australia and retained his French Open crown on the clay courts of Rolland Garros, but has struggled for form and fitness and was unable to compete in the US Open back in September.
"Nadal instead, when he is playing, it looks as if he is battling," Courier said. "That sort of explains why the Spaniard will not enjoy the same longevity as Roger, even though we would all love to see Rafael competing when he is 33."
2014 has been a memorable year for tennis, with Stanislas Wawrinka finally ending the stranglehold of the top four players in the game with victory down under in January.
The New Year brings with it a growing buzz around the game that the predictability of old is banished and a vast number of different players can compete for the biggest prizes within the sport.