Leonardo Mayer: Roger Federer is GOAT but I once rejected to train with him

Former world No. 21 Leonardo Mayer revealed he considers Roger Federer as the greatest tennis player of all time but he once rejected to train with him 

Mayer, 34, played Federer several times during his career. 

Two weeks ago, Mayer announced his retirement from professional tennis. 

“How difficult…Federer is for me. He does everything right.” Mayer said.

Mayer was once invited to train with Federer but he was afraid to accept the offer. 

“I couldn’t train. I wasn’t going to be able to put up with the pressure that meant being with Federer; I couldn’t,” explained Mayer. “(Ivan) Ljubicic, Federer’s coach, contacted the Boy (Mariano Hood), who was with me, and proposed it to him. I told him to let me think for a while, but I rejected him (Roger Federer).”

Mayer’s rejection left Federer camp in shock 

“They couldn’t believe it; imagine… I don’t know what excuse he gave him,” Mayer continued. “But I didn’t feel prepared to go there for a week, I think to Geneva. I didn’t want to suffer. It’s very nice to train with Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, but at the same time they generate extra pressure, because they don’t miss a ball and you have to be one hundred percent.”

At the Shanghai Masters in 2014, Mayer came extremely close to pulling off a shock win over Federer.

Unfortunately for Mayer, Federer saved five match points and in the end won 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7).

“I still find that match unbelievable, because I never thought I would have a chance to beat him on that occasion,” Mayer told the ATP website.

“The day after losing I was happy, it’s very difficult to play against someone you admire that much; you always see them on TV and you can’t imagine playing against them. “It was important to me to play with Federer even though I didn’t beat him. If I’d beaten him it would only have given me 45 more points at the time and allowed me to say ‘I beat him,‘ that’s all.”

After Mayer retired, Juan Martin del Potro send him a heartfelt message. 

“Leo, congratulations on your enormous career, a pleasure for me to have grown up together,” del Potro tweeted.

“I wish you the best in your new stage and thank you forever for (the) Davis (Cup)! I love you friend!”