Johannesburg: After lifting his record eighth Wimbledon title, 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has insisted that he could continue playing until 40, thus spearheading a late-life era of supremacy alongside rival and Spanish maestro Rafael Nadal.
Federer outclassed Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in his 11th final at the All England Club that lasted for one hour and 37 minutes on the Centre Court on Sunday. And with just few weeks left to his 36th birthday, Federer insisted that if his health permits then he would be playing the tournament until he is 40.
“You would think so, if health permitting and everything is okay,” Sport24 quoted Federer as saying.
The Swiss star returned back to his menacing best following the radical transformation he made to his playing schedule since slumping to a defeat to Canadian Milos Raonic in the semi-finals of the Wimbledon in 2016. Subsequently, he had ruled himself out of the season, withdrawing from the Rio Olympics and US Open due to a knee injury.
As a result, he also fell to 17 in the men’s world rankings in January, his lowest since 2000. Insisting that the break was necessary to rejuvenate him, the Swiss maestro revealed that his entire team had a faith on him that he could lift a major title once again if he manages to keep himself fully fit.
“I did ask them the question sincerely, to everybody on my team, if they thought I could win majors again. Basically the answer was always the same from them: that they thought if you’re 100% healthy and you’re well-prepared, you’re eager to play, then anything’s possible,” Federer explained.
Federer has now hinted that he would miss the Montreal Masters and feature only in Cincinnati ahead of the fourth major of the season, the US Open, where he has not clinched victory since 2008.
It was for the first time that the third-seeded Swiss superstar won the Wimbledon title without dropping a set. The 35-year-old’s previous Wimbledon win came in 2012. He then lost to Novak Djokovic in both the 2014 and 2015 finals. His first Wimbledon title came in 2003, and he won the next four after that. The victory makes Federer the oldest man to win at the All England Club in the Open era, which began in 1968. He has now moved clear of seven-time Wimbledon titlists William Renshaw and Pete Sampras.
With Federer’s fifth crown of the year, the Swiss rise to No. 3- his highest rankings position since August 2016. His career title count now stands at 93, third on the all-time men’s list, behind Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94) and ahead of John McEnroe (77) and Rafael Nadal (73).