Roger Federer insisted his decorated tennis career was "about having grit" as he dismissed the theory that his style of play was "effortless".

Federer is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, with his tally of 20 grand slam men's singles titles only bettered by Novak Djokovic (24) and Rafael Nadal (22).

The Swiss, who also won a record eight times at Wimbledon before retiring from the sport in 2022, was one of the most popular sportsmen of his generation with his classy brand of tennis earning him adulation around the globe.

But Federer rejected claims his ability was "pure talent alone" while delivering a graduation speech at Dartmouth College, where he received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the New Hampshire institution.

"People would say my play was effortless. Most of the time, they meant it as a compliment," he said during the ceremony. "But it used to frustrate me when they would say: 'He barely broke a sweat', or: 'Is he even trying?'.

"The truth is, I had to work very hard to make it look easy. I didn't get where I got on pure talent alone. I got there by trying to outwork my opponents. Most of the time, it's not about having a gift. It's about having grit."

Federer shared the lessons he felt served him well during his glittering career, including the way he dealt with adversity during matches.

"When you lose every second point, on average, you learn not to dwell on every shot," he continued. "When you're playing a point, it is the most important thing in the world.

"But when it's behind you, it's behind you. This mindset is really crucial, because it frees you to fully commit to the next point and the next one after that with intensity, clarity and focus.

"You want to become a master at overcoming hard moments. That to me is the sign of a champion."

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