Federer: ‘It’s Been An Exciting Road’Roger Federer had yet to hit a ball at The Championships, but the 35 year old was already smiling.
Unlike a year ago, when Federer arrived at Wimbledon worrying about his knee and his back, the Swiss made his way to SW19 weeks ago unencumbered by health worries. This fortnight, the fifth seed knew he could focus on his tennis.
“It was all based on health… It was all about just putting myself in a good physical state that I could compete with the best and play seven times, five sets. That was my goal. I achieved that. When I showed up here in Wimbledon, I was actually already very happy,” Federer said.
The 35 year old only increased his happiness throughout the fortnight and especially on Sunday, when he won a record eighth Wimbledon title, separating himself from Pete Sampras on the all-time list. Federer also became just the second player in the Open Era to win Wimbledon without dropping a set (Bjorn Borg, 1976).
“It is very special. Wimbledon… will always be my favorite tournament. My heroes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here. Because of them, I think I became a better player, too. To make history here at Wimbledon really means a lot to me just because of all of that really,” Federer said.
“Funny 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. So to be Wimbledon champion for an entire year now is something I can’t wait to savour and just enjoy.”
Sixteen years ago, in 2001, a 19-year-old Federer first made his mark at The Championships, beating idol Pete Sampras in the fourth round. But even baby-faced Federer never dreamed he’d win a record eight titles.
“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, in my opinion. If you do, I don’t know, 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,” Federer said.
“I was not that kid. I was just really a normal guy growing up in Basel, hoping to make a career on the tennis tour. I dreamed, I believed, and really hoped that I could actually, maybe really do it… So I put in a lot of work, and it paid off.”
He still has work to do. Federer, who will turn 36 on 8 August, skipped the clay-court season but plans to play every remaining swing of the year.
He’ll now turn to the U.S. hard courts, where more “Big Titles” could await the right-hander. Later this year, Federer could also sit atop the Emirates ATP Rankings.
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“What keeps me going? I don’t know, I love to play. My wonderful team. My wife’s totally fine with me still playing. She’s my No. 1 supporter. She’s amazing,” Federer said.
“I love playing the big stages still. I don’t mind the practice. I don’t mind the travel. Because I’m playing a little less, I actually get more time in return. I feel like I’m working part-time these days almost, which is a great feeling.”