Roger Federer has dismissed speculation that he is contemplating ending his career in the wake of Grand Slam glory at the Australian Open.
The Swiss, who is 35, returned from a knee injury last month to beat old rival Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the Melbourne final.
Many interpreted his post-match interview as a hint that he was preparing to bid goodbye to professional tennis.
Such a decision would have emulated the retirement of Federer’s close friend Pete Sampras, who called time on his career in 2002, soon after defying his advancing years with a fifth US Open crown.
However, having subsequently signed up to play his home tournament in Basel for the next three years, Federer confirmed he’ll be looking to add to his 18 major titles.
Federer, on rumoured plans to quit, told The Times: “It all got misinterpreted a little bit, but I also admit, I left room for speculation. In my mind for the past month there has been the thought, ‘How can I top what happened in Australia?’
“Maybe it would need me to take three years out from the game and come back to win seven matches over five sets and get an eighth Wimbledon title. I was so happy, the team was so happy and the way people reacted to my win.
“I know what Pete did and I’ve always been full of respect for him and his career. But for me, retiring after the winning the Australian has never seriously crossed my mind. After feeling this good for the past month, I could not possibly just give it all up for ever more.
“I would like to play for a number of years and I am always looking to plan ahead. It’s good for me and also the tournaments to know I will be playing.
“Body-wise, I will be able to hold up. I know I had to take that big break last year for my life and for my career. Hopefully things are going to be OK for the next few years, and not just one tournament.”
Federer, who has already earned $101,605,085 in prize money alone, will attempt to win the Dubai Duty Free Championships for a record eighth time in the coming week.
He finds himself in the same half of the draw as the current world No. 1 Andy Murray. – ESPN