Swiss superstar surprised by age-defying achievements
Roger Federer said on Sunday he never thought he’d be a record eight-time Wimbledon champion and would even have laughed if he was told he’d win two majors in 2017.
It was 16 years ago that Federer defeated Sampras at Wimbledon to announce himself as a star in the making.
However, it wasn’t until 2003 that he captured his first All England Club title.
Now he has 19 majors, four clear of closest rival Rafael Nadal on the all-time list.
“I didn’t think I was going to be this successful after beating Pete here,” said Federer who also won a fifth Australian Open in January.
“I hoped to have a chance maybe one day to be in a Wimbledon final and have a chance to win the tournament.
“Winning eight is not something you can ever aim for. If you do, you must have so much talent and parents and the coaches that push you from the age of 3 on, who think you’re like a project. I was not that kid.”
Federer had been written off as a faded force when he was knocked out of Wimbledon in the semifinals by Canada’s Milos Raonic last year.
But his Australian Open triumph led to back-to-back Masters at Indian Wells and Miami before he skipped the claycourt season.
A ninth Halle grasscourt title followed and on Sunday his record triumph in southwest London took his career trophy collection to a staggering 93.
Sunday’s straight-sets cruise against Marin Cilic meant he was the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to win Wimbledon without dropping a set.
“I’m incredibly surprised how well this year is going, how well I’m feeling, how I’m managing tougher situations, where my level of play is on a daily basis,” added Federer.
“I am surprised that it’s this good. I knew I could do great again maybe one day, but not at this level.
“So I guess you would have laughed, too, if I told you I was going to win two Slams this year.
“People wouldn’t believe me if I said that. I also didn’t believe that I was going to win two this year.”
The Swiss great also insisted he fully intends to defend his Wimbledon title in 2018.
“We never know what happens,” said the Swiss star, who had told the crowd in his victory speech: “I hope to be back, I hope this wasn’t my last match”.
He later clarified his remarks, telling reporters: “Honestly, ever since I had the year I had last year, I think a year ahead of time, you know, with my schedule, fitness schedule, tournaments I would like to play.
“So I totally see myself playing here this time next year.
“There’s never a guarantee, especially not at 35, 36. But the goal is definitely to be here again next year to try to defend.”
Switzerland’s Roger Federer
Roger Federer kisses the Wimbledon trophy on Sunday.