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'Roger Federer is an icon, a superstar - and an exception person,' says Dominic Thiem

Roger Federer backhand AO

Dominic Thiem says Roger Federer is 'an icon who represents the idea of a superstar' after hailing him as the world's greatest sportsman.

Federer is the biggest mainstream star tennis has ever known, with his popularity now spanning the best part of two decades.

Answering a question on his website about who he rates as the greatest sportsman of all time, Thiem said: Roger Federer!

"And this is not because I see it through my rose-tinted tennis glasses like that.

"Roger put the entire sport of tennis on a new level. On and off court – an icon. He is an exceptional person. He represents the idea of superstar!"

Thiem also discussed the first time he met Federer, as well as offered some insight into what he is like off the court.

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"Very, very entertaining and completely relaxed," Thiem explained.

"In the lockers, meaning in the inner, inner circle he is a completely different person. Hilarious, open minded and he also loves pranks.

"When I was a 16-year-old junior I was allowed to practice with him for the first time at the Aorangi Park at Wimbledon.

"At the beginning I was super nervous, I hardly hit a ball over the net.

"After some minutes I settled in. Never ever had I thought I would ever beat Roger one day."

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