Back in Queensland together for the first time in decades, the former rivals, Davis Cup team-mates and current American residents backed Federer to win a fifth Australian Open at Melbourne Park in January.
The Swiss maestro has dropped to No.4 in the world rankings since winning his 16th and last major, at Rod Laver Arena in 2010, and being usurped by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
But Laver, 73, believes Federer’s form in winning this month’s Paris Masters showed he’s over the heart-break of failing to close out the US Open semi-final final against Djokovic and is back to his best.
“I think Federer has a chance to come back and, if anywhere, I think the Australian is a good place for him,” said the Rockhampton Rocket, who swept through two calendar grand slams in 1962 and 1969. “He’s generally going to be playing indoors.
“I saw him at the Paris Indoors and he played awfully well there. He’s certainly shortening the points. He’s changed his tune now.
“It seems to me he’s serving a whole lot better, he’s getting to the net a lot more and he’s got a drop shot that works pretty effectively.”
Emerson, who won a career total of 12 slam titles, one more than Laver and behind only Federer and Pete Sampras (14), is even more convinced there’s plenty of life left in Federer’s all-court game.
“Federer has still got some grand slams in him,” the 76-year-old said. “He’s an incredible player and he should have beaten Djokovic (in New York).
“Even now he’s too good to count out. If he serves well, no-one is going to beat him.”
The country Queensland products on Monday inspected the latest refurbishments of the Queensland Tennis Centre, which was inundated by January’s floods.
Water rose as high as the umpire’s chair on Pat Rafter Arena three days after the 2011 Brisbane International men’s final, won by Andy Roddick, and left huge damage to the main court as well as surrounding courts.
The winner of next year’s men’s event, starting in six weeks, will receive the Roy Emerson Trophy.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be recognised in this way,” Emerson said. “It’s a tremendous honour to have the Brisbane International trophy named after me.”