By Tom Degun

Roger Federer and Nicol DavidFebruary 17 - Tennis icon Roger Federer (pictured left) has pledged his support for squash's bid to join the 2020 Olympic Games sports programme.

The 31-year-old world number two from Switzerland, a 17-time Grand Slam winner and widely considered the best tennis player in history, announced his support after meeting women's squash world number one Nicol David (top right) at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

"I think it's a wonderful sport," said Federer.

"It's unfortunate some sports don't get the opportunity to be in the Olympics.

"I think squash would deserve it.

"They run a great tour and they have great players and characters.

"I'd personally be very happy for them.

"I used to play it a lot when I was younger every Sunday with my dad.

"I started with a wooden racquet like I did in tennis and I've always been a big fan of the sport."

Squash are bidding against baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, squash, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu - and now wrestling after it was controversially removed from the list of core Olympic sports - for inclusion at the Games in 2020, which will be held in Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo. 

The final decision on which sport should be included is due to be taken at the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September.

Squash are considered one of the favourites for Olympic inclusion and David said the support of Federer is a huge boost.

Nicol DavidWomen’s squash world number one Nicol David is one of her sport’s high profile ambassadors in their bid to join the 2020 Olympic Games sports programme

"He's such a great guy and true champion," said David, who has topped the women's world rankings since August 2006.

"He showed us what it's like behind the scenes to be a tennis player, in a sport very similar to squash."

World Squash Federation (WSF) President Rami Ramachandran was also delighted by the tennis star's backing.

"It is fantastic to have Roger Federer supporting squash's campaign to join the Olympic Sports Programme.

"His endorsement means a great deal because he is a true sporting icon who knows what it means to compete at the Olympic Games."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
January 2013: Tom Degun - Seven-way race for 2020 Olympic sports programme too close to call
January 2013: Squash President Ramachandran thanks athletes for boosting Olympic bid
January 2013: Squash given boost in 2020 Olympic bid with impressive showing in London
December 2012: Squash leads on "innovation" in bid presentation to IOC
December 2012: President Ramachandran and world number one James Willstrop lead IOC squash presentation