Roger Federer has no plans to retire anytime soon as he looks to add to his grand slam haul following a memorable Australian Open triumph on Sunday.
The 35-year-old missed the second half of the 2016 season with a knee injury but made a sensational return in Melbourne to beat Rafael Nadal in a thrilling five-set final.
After Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray made a surprise early exits from 2017’s opening grand slam, the chances of Federer taking the title grew and he completed a sensational tournament with a classic against his old Spanish foe.
He has no plans to settle for 18 major wins, though, and intends to return to Melbourne Park in 12 months to defend his title.
“I hope to be back next year, of course,” he said. “I love playing here. I’ve never missed it since ’98, since the juniors and then qualifying in ’99.
“So, yeah, the goal is absolutely to be playing. That’s why I took the six months off to be hopefully playing for a couple more years.
“Knowing that I have only so much tennis left in me if I do get injured, maybe if I miss next year. Who knows what happens. You never know when your next grand slam is going to be, if ever.”
And for Federer the victory was particularly sweet given he had failed to beat Nadal in a grand slam final since their Wimbledon battle in 2007.
“I told myself to play free,” he continued. “You play the ball, you don’t play the opponent. Be free in your head, be free in your shots, go for it.
“The brave will be rewarded. I didn’t want to go down just making shots, seeing forehands rain down on me from Rafa. I think it was the right decision at the right time.
“I said that also before the finals: if I were to win against Rafa, it would be super special and very sweet because I haven’t beaten him in a grand slam final for a long, long time now.
“Now I was able to do it again. The magnitude of this match is going to feel different. I can’t compare this one to any other one except for maybe the French Open in ’09.
“I waited for the French Open, I tried, I fought. I tried again and failed. Eventually, I made it. This feels similar.”
Federer’s main target for the remainder of the year is Wimbledon, the world number 10 aiming for a record eighth crown.
“Yeah, Wimbledon over Roland Garros, yes,” Federer confirmed. “On the grass, I’ve got a lot of tournaments there, I play Stuttgart and Halle.
“So I guess Wimbledon, I know I have a better shot there.
“The US Open actually I also think I have a good chance to do well there, but let’s enjoy this one first.”