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Five minutes with: Jack Nicklaus

Rolex clock at The Championships.
by Stuart Appleby
Tuesday 2 July 2013

Wimbledon.com caught up with golfing superstar and 18-time major champion, Jack Nicklaus, who is a regular visitor to The All England Club during The Championships.

How different is Wimbledon to other sporting tournaments you have played at and been to?

I think Wimbledon is sort of the Masters of tennis. The Masters golf tournament at Augusta is a real production and a lot of people have a lot of different things to do, and it's much the same thing for tennis here (in London).
There's a lot of people here, a lot of courts and a lot of different matches to watch. There's something to do all day long. The quality of tennis and the quality of the facilities is unmatched anywhere in the world.

What makes watching tennis at Wimbledon so unique?

Every sport has something a little different and tennis has Wimbledon and I don't think there's any equal to it. I think The Open Championship do a good job in Britain too, but it's a total contrast to what we have in the United States. I think that's why I enjoy coming over here so much because it is a unique way of watching sport. There's an amazing atmosphere here. Wimbledon is a place where players come to play and enjoy the change in atmosphere.

You are considered as one of the greatest sportsman and golfers of all time and have 18 major championships to your name. In tennis, Federer is just one shy of your total with 17. How would you sum up Federer's achievements in the game?

Roger's had a great career and he's continuing to have a great career. He's still young enough to win Grand Slams, and of course, he only won here at Wimbledon last year. I admire Roger so much. He's handled himself so well and he's a good person. There's been no controversy around him and he's a good family man. He does all the right things and the public look at that and hold him as a role model which they want to follow. That's what I admire about Roger so much. I'm sure there are other guys who are much the same way but he's handled everything so well, and played pretty damn good tennis with it.

What is the best match you have seen at Wimbledon?

The match I watched last year between Federer and Julien Benneteau was a pretty unusual match. Roger was down two-sets-to-love and came back to win under the Centre Court roof with a late finish, I enjoyed that match.
But there's obviously so many other matches. Going back through the years I watched Stan Smith defeat Ilie Nastase in five sets in the 1972 final and that's a lot of years ago! I also watched John Newcombe win here at Wimbledon.

Are there any other players that stand out for you from Wimbledon's illustrious history?

I enjoyed the era in the 1970s and 1980s with the likes of Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Then, of course, along came Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. I like Pete and know him a little bit, but I've never met Andre.

Tennis like golf is an individual sport. How strong do you have to be mentally when you're out there on your own?

I feel tennis players in general, especially the top players, handle themselves pretty well, and have done through the years. I give them a lot of credit because they are under a lot of pressure (as individuals). When Andy Murray plays here he has the whole country on his shoulders so it's pretty difficult for him, but he's doing well.

Keep an eye on Wimbledon.com for more in our five minute series. Follow the latest news and scores from Wimbledon 2013 on Wimbledon.com or download the official iPad,  iPhone and Android apps

 

 

 


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20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...

20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."

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