Andre Agassi has picked Rafael Nadal ahead of grand slam record-holder Roger Federer when asked to choose the best player in tennis history, a report said yesterday.

The American, putting a new slant on one of the sport's great debates, said he preferred Nadal because the Spaniard had thrived in an ultra-competitive "golden age of tennis".

"I'd put Nadal No1, Federer No2," the eight-time grand slam winner told Singapore's Straits Times. "Federer separated himself from the field for four years. He separated himself from [Andy] Roddick and [Lleyton] Hewitt," Agassi added.

"Nadal had to deal with Federer, [Novak] Djokovic, [Andy] Murray in the golden age of tennis. He has done what he has done and he's not done yet."


Conventional wisdom ranks Federer ahead of Nadal, as the Swiss holds a record 17 grand slam titles against 13 for world No1 Nadal.

But Nadal has a convincing 23-10 head-to-head record against Federer and is one Australian Open victory away from becoming only the third man to win all four grand slams twice.

"He has won multiple [majors], every single one [more than once] except the Australian Open - and give him another year on that," Agassi said. "It's just remarkable to me what he has done, and he has done it all during Federer's prime."

Agassi said he did not discount Australia's Rod Laver, the only two-time winner of the calendar-year grand slam, when rating the greatest of all time. And he confirmed he would play in the Singapore leg of the inaugural International Premier Tennis League after the dates were rejigged to avoid Thanksgiving - as long as the event went ahead.