LONDON -- Soon after Roger Federer won his eighth Wimbledon title and 19th Grand Slam championship, both men's tennis records, he shed light on how much longer he plans to compete on the professional circuit.
"It's a dream to play here, really, and I hope this wasn't my last match," Federer said after the trophy presentation. "I hope I can come back next year and try to defend the title."
This, of course, isn't the first time Federer has been asked about his remaining time on tour. During the trophy presentation after winning the Australian Open in January, he said, "I hope to see you next year. If not, this was a wonderful run here and I can't be more happy to have won tonight."
So, while he's a level of uncertainty that these could be his final matches, he is also hoping to be back next year. So, which is it for Federer, who will turn 36 next month?
"We never know what happens," Federer said. "Honestly, ever since I had the year I had last year, I do think probably like a year ahead of time with my schedule, fitness schedule, tournaments I would like to play. So, I totally see myself playing here this time next year.
"But because it's far away, because of what happened last year, I just like to take the opportunity to thank the people in the very moment, and make them understand, yes, I hope that I'm back. There's never a guarantee, especially not at 35, 36. But the goal is definitely to be here again next year to try and defend."
As good as Federer has looked in winning multiple Grand Slams in the same year for the first time since 2009, it's easy to forget how bad 2016 was when he was limited to just seven tournaments after he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. He didn't qualify for the ATP Finals or finish in the top six for the first time since 2001. Federer's streak of 15 straight years with at least one title was snapped.
"I wasn't sure if I was ever going to be here again in another final after last year," Federer said. "I've had some tough ones here over the years, losing to Novak [Djokovic] in '14 and '15, but I always believed that I could come back and do it again."
If Federer closes out the season by winning the US Open for the first time since 2008 and snares a staggering 20th Grand Slam title, some might wonder what is left for him to achieve in a record-setting career.
"What keeps me going? I don't know, I love to play," Federer said. "I have a wonderful team. My wife's totally fine with me still playing; she's my No. 1 supporter. She's amazing.
"Yeah, 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."