Roger Federer is having to reassess what might be possible after making yet more tennis history with an eighth Wimbledon title.
Five years after he tied with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw, Federer defeated a tearful Marin Cilic 6-3 6-1 6-4 to become the first man to lift the trophy eight times at the All England Club.
It has been a glorious late career chapter for Federer, who was sidelined by knee problems for the last six months of 2016 but has hit possibly his greatest heights at 35.
A stunning Australian Open triumph over Rafael Nadal has now been followed by the most dominant of his Wimbledon titles, Federer tearing through seven matches without dropping a set.
“I’m incredibly surprised how well this year is going, how well I’m feeling, how things are turning out to be on the courts, how I’m managing tougher situations, where my level of play is on a daily basis,” he said.
“I am surprised that it’s this good. I knew I could do great again maybe one day, but not at this level.
“I guess you would have laughed, too, if I told you I was going to win two slams this year. It’s incredible.
“I don’t know how much longer it’s going to last. But I’ve just got to always remind myself that health comes first at this point. If I do that, maybe things are actually possible I didn’t think were.”
As he did in Australia, Federer told the crowd in his on-court interview that he hoped to be back to defend his title, and there is no doubt in his mind that he wants to be.
“I totally see myself playing here this time next year,” he said.
“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.”
Wimbledon was the tournament where Federer made his big breakthrough with victory over Pete Sampras back in 2001 and then his first grand slam title two years later.
“I hoped to have a chance maybe one day to be in a Wimbledon final and have a chance to win the tournament,” he said.
“Winning eight is not something you can ever aim for, in my opinion. If you do, you must have so much talent and parents and coaches that push you from the age of three, who think you’re like a project.
“I was not that kid. I was just really a normal guy growing up in Basle, hoping to make a career on the tennis tour.
“I guess I dreamed, I believed, and really hoped that I could actually maybe really do it, to make it real. So I put in a lot of work, and it paid off.
“It is very special. Wimbledon was always my favourite tournament, will always be my favourite tournament.”