Roger Federer snatched a precious couple of hours sleep after his Australian Open celebration party, and then re-emerged to reassure fans that he will be back next year.
Blinking into the daylight, the 36 year-old Swiss suggested it was a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ he would return as he paraded the trophy at Government House before heading home.
‘Maybe next year when I do come back, I might actually think I can win it, and then I probably won’t,’ he half-joked. ‘It’s better to stay really relaxed about my chances, especially in my later years on the tour. I think it’s served me well to be relaxed.’
Roger Federer kisses the Australian Open trophy during his photocall after beating Marin Cilic
It was the 20th Grand Slam title of his career, and a record-equalling sixth Australian Open
Media gathered outside Government House to catch Federer with his latest piece of silverware
He was quick to play down expectations that he might one day reach the Grand Slams totals of Serena Williams or Margaret Court, on 23 and 24 respectively.
‘I didn’t think 20 was even possible to be honest,’ he said. ‘It’s not something I’m looking at or have even thought about to be honest. I’m very happy to be at 20.’
Rod Laver, again watching a player with whom he has forged a close bond, repeated his assertion that Federer is the greatest male player of all time and marvelled at how he has maintained his silky movement around the court.
‘It’s just unusual to see a wonderful champion like that be able to win at age 36 after seven tough matches,’ said the Australian legend. ‘You just marvel at his tenacity and his floating ability on the court.
‘He just seems like he’s floating all around the court — he’s not running. That’s something else.
‘He’s stood the test of time — that’s probably the one thing that puts you in that category of the best ever. That’s one of the things that he has done. He loves the game, and everything he does around his life is somewhere related to all the great achievements.’
It was his 30th Grand Slam final – and he held his nerve to beat Cilic and claim another title
Reporters listen in as Federer reflects on win, which had reduced him to tears the night before
Federer received lion’s share of support inside the Rod Laver Arena – and he claimed a triumph
The ranking lists do not brook any argument about the present day and, as ever, the post-Australian Open version of the listings provides an interesting take on the state of play.
Federer is only 155 points behind Rafael Nadal. Although he is not due to play again until the Indian Wells Masters-level event in March he could overtake him early that month, if the Spaniard fails to make the semi-finals of the Mexico Open at the start of that month.
March 5 could be a big a changeover day, as that is when, regardless of results, Kyle Edmund will replace Andy Murray as British No 1 as more points drop off the computer for the Scot as he recovers from hip surgery.
Edmund moved to world No 26 on Monday, while Murray is down to 20. The current GB No 2 is actually the fourth highest point scorer based purely on the ‘race’ which starts on January 1.
While Caroline Wozniacki moves to the top of the WTA Tour, Jo Konta’s second-round exit at the Australian Open sees her slip just one place, from world No 10 to 11.
He won his first Grand Slam in 2004, beating Australian Mark Philippoussis in the final at SW19
Federer, 36, overcame Marin Cilic in five sets on Sunday to land his sixth Australian Open title
Reunited with Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for a sixth time, Federer seals win with a kiss