Tennis

Federer keen to play until he's 40

Buoyed by his record-setting eighth Wimbledon title, Roger Federer warned rivals yesterday that he could play until he's 40, spearheading a late-life era of supremacy alongside Rafael Nadal.

Federer eased past injury-hit Marin Cilic to become the oldest Wimbledon men's champion of the modern era on Sunday, breaking the tie for seven All England Club titles he had shared with Pete Sampras since his last triumph in 2012.

It also gave him a 19th Grand Slam title in his 29th final at the Majors.

With his 36th birthday just three weeks away, Federer believes that he could still be playing the tournament when he's 40.

"You would think so, if health permitting and everything is okay," said Federer, who won his first Wimbledon title in 2003.

His confidence in his longevity is based on the radical transformation he's made to his playing schedule since his semi-final defeat by Milos Raonic at Wimbledon last year.

He immediately shut down his season, missing the Olympics and the US Open, to rest a knee injury.

As a consequence, his world ranking slumped to 17th in January, his lowest since 2000.

But the gamble paid off as a rejuvenated Federer won a fifth Australian Open on his return before adding back-to-back Masters at Indian Wells and Miami.

He skipped the clay-court season in the knowledge that a fully fit Nadal was always likely to dominate the French Open.

Back on grass, Federer won a ninth Halle title before easing to his stunning Wimbledon landmark. Wimbledon, where he became the first man to win the trophy without dropping a set since Bjorn Borg in 1976, was only his seventh tournament of 2017.

Federer's match-win record for 2017 now stands at 31-2. His appearances on the Tour will remain limited.

He hinted he may sit out the Montreal Masters and play only in Cincinnati before an assault on a sixth US Open where he hasn't won since 2008.

As always, it's a decision he'll make with those closest to him just as he did when he took his six-month break last year.

"I did ask them the question sincerely, to everybody on my team, if they thought I could win Majors again," Federer said.

"Basically, the answer was always the same from them: that they thought if you're 100 per cent healthy and you're well prepared, you're eager to play, then anything's possible.

"That's how it played out, so they were all right.

"I believed them. I had the same feeling. I think that's why the break last year was necessary to reassess and get back to 100 per cent physically." - AFP

Roger FedererWimbledontennis