Ok here is a video of Federer vs Roddick at the US Open 2007
And here is one of Laver against Roche at the Australian Open 1969. (Laver is the guy with the white hat.)
It might seem kind of absurd to compare the styles of tennis players or athletes for that matter who played more than forty years apart but I believe that this is the only way know for sure who the better player was. I think that it's also worth noting that I had never seen Rod Laver play before I watched the video and I was actually impressed with what I saw.
It's apparent from watching the video that Federer serves and returns much harder than Laver does. The shot placement from both players is very good and Laver's volleys are very precise. Both of the players move exceptionally well although the slower rally allows Laver a bit more time to get to the ball than Federer has. All in all they both played very good against their opponents however if Laver and Federer had met in their primes with the technology being consistent with their times (Laver with a wood racquet and Federer with a graphite Wilson K Factor) Fed would easily win. The racquets back in the 60s lacked the power to hit passing shots like the racquets today can hit. This would probably be enough for Federer to defeat Rod Laver's opponent Tony Roache and can you imagine Laver trying to defeat a player like Andy Roddick when the average players in the 60s hit hit their first serves in the 90 mile an hour range? I can't. Roger Federer's, average first serve speed is probably between 114-120 mph.
In conclusion, I think that Laver was a pretty good player and probably the best during his time period but is he really the GOAT? No. His style is just too dated to actually beat any of the best players in the world today or probably within the last 25 years. Their never will be an official greatest of all time because it's speculation it comes down to what you believe and who you think that person is. Hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you have any comments please feel free to post and I'll be back next week with the Davis Cup. :)