LONDON (AP) — Roger Federer has learned not to take anything for granted.
That’s why he said what he did during the trophy presentation after his record-breaking eighth Wimbledon championship: “I hope this wasn’t my last match. And I hope I can come back next year and try to defend the title.”
Some wondered whether that meant Federer was considering retirement.
Hardly. What he meant, Federer explained Monday, was simply: “I can’t think too far ahead.”
“I didn’t think about what I was going to say. It just came out that way, to show the people that, yes, of course I hope to defend my title and, of course, I wish to be back here next year. But we just don’t know if it’s really going to actually happen,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press at the All England Club the morning after beating Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in the final. “We have to wait and see.”
He didn’t always take that approach, back when he was in his 20s and reached a record 10 Grand Slam finals in a row.
Things are different these days.
“At 25, when you win, you’re like, ‘All right, I’ll see you next year!’ because it’s normal. You’re going to be playing, for sure. The body’s going to be fine, most likely. And if not next year, well, then the year after that, you know?” Federer said as he walked through the hallways of Centre Court in gray pants and a white zippered warmup jacket. “But I can’t really think two years ahead now. Let’s be honest.”
First of all, there’s the no-way-around-it matter of his age: Federer turns 36 on Aug. 8; he is the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open era, which began in 1968.
And then there’s what happened about 18 months ago: A father of four, he was preparing a bath for his twin daughters when he turned and felt a “click” in his…