WIMBLEDON– They said he was finished — that, without a grand slam title for almost five years, his glory days were behind him.
Roger Federer clearly wasn’t listening; he’s played two grand slam events in 2017 and won them both.
Thanks to a shrewd and shortened schedule, the 35-year-old’s match win percentage this season (93.9%) doesn’t just blow away his modern-day contemporaries, it even rivals his own golden standards between 2004 and 2007.
There are few players more self-assured on the ATP Tour, but even Federer hadn’t dared dream of this.
“I was hoping that things were going to play out nicely and that I was going to be in contention in the second week at Wimbledon,” he told CNN Sport Monday as he reflected on his straight sets win over Marin Cilic in the men’s final.
“To win it altogether? It’s like the dream scenario that you hope happens but you’re so cautious that you never really want to go there mentally.”
Federer’s victory on Sunday handed the Swiss a record eighth Wimbledon singles title, and his 19th major overall.
He didn’t drop a set all tournament at the All England Club this year — the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to do so — barely breaking sweat over the last fortnight.
Friend and long-time nemesis Rafa Nadal could have closed the gap between them to just two in Melbourne, but now Federer is poised for magical grand slam number 20.
“That would be a joke, if I won three slams this year out of nowhere,” said Federer, looking ahead to Flushing Meadows.
“I know if I stay in shape there are chances for me to do well at the US Open, but to win it? Yeah, at some stage I almost feel like I have to be realistic.”
“I am not 25 anymore. I’m not sure I can win three slams in one year. Winning two is already pretty crazy and plenty good enough for me.”
He won’t be pinching himself just yet. Every time the Swiss has won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in a single season, he has also gone on to lift the US Open trophy (2004, 2006 and 2007).
“I’ll definitely try and get myself organized, prepared and ready so that I’ll have the best chance to do well at the US Open,” said Federer.
Stranger things have happened.