Roger Federer’s victory at Wimbledon on Sunday may have established him as the greatest player of all time, but the 35-year-old claimed his 2017 successes have come as a surprise.
Federer has prioritised key tournaments this year after struggling with a knee problem in 2016, and he is reaping the rewards.
Sunday saw him capture a record eighth Wimbledon singles crown by beating Marin Cilic in straight sets, securing the 19th major title of his career and second of the year, having also won the Australian Open.
In between his triumphs, Federer strategically opted to miss the entire clay-court season. Nevertheless, the Swiss claimed he did not expect to be enjoying so much success.
“Honestly I’m incredibly surprised how well this year is going, how well I’m feeling,” he told a media conference.
“As well, how things are turning out to be on the courts, how I’m managing tougher situations, where my level of play is on a daily basis. 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.
“But, yeah, it’s incredible. I don’t know how much longer it’s going to last. I have no idea. But I’ve just got to always remind myself that health comes first at this point. If I do that, maybe things are actually possible [that] I didn’t think were.”
And becoming the first man to lift eight singles titles at SW19 was also something Federer had never expected, but was a pleasant addition to an already sensational career.
“I hoped to have a chance maybe one day to be in a Wimbledon final and have a chance to win the tournament,” he added. “Winning eight is not something you can ever aim for, in my opinion.
“It is very special. Wimbledon was always my favourite tournament, will always be my favourite tournament.
“My heroes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here. Because of them, I think I became a better player, too.
Of his first triumph at the All England Club since 2012, he added: “To mark history here at Wimbledon really means a lot to me just because of all of that really. It’s that simple.
“Funnily enough, I didn’t think that much of it throughout today, throughout the trophy ceremony. I was more just so happy that I was able to win Wimbledon again because it’s been a long road, it’s been an exciting road. It’s been tough at times, but that’s how it’s supposed to be.
“Number eight obviously means a lot to me because at that level, to be part of Wimbledon history, is truly amazing.”
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