Roger Federer joked that he would take another six-month break from tennis after continuing his incredible 2017 renaissance by easing to a record eighth singles title at Wimbledon on Sunday (16 July).
The veteran Swiss crushed an injured Marin Cilic in straight sets on Centre Court to move clear of Pete Sampras and William Renshaw on the list of all-time male winners at SW19 and also become the first player to win Wimbledon without dropping a single set since Bjorn Borg in 1976.
Having previously gone five years without adding to his record haul of 17 Grand Slam crowns and missing the second half of the 2016 season, Federer, along with old rival Rafael Nadal, has taken full advantage of the respective struggles of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic this year to reassert himself among the elite.
He earned a thrilling five-set win over Nadal in the Australian Open final in January and completed a third sunshine double at Indian Wells and Miami before skipping the French Open and the entire clay-court swing in order to rest.
That latter decision proved entirely justified, with the 35-year-old returning to win the Gerry Weber Open for the ninth time and carrying that excellent form into Wimbledon.
"I've got to take more time off," a triumphant Federer joked with the BBC after beating Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in front of an adoring crowd. "I will be gone again for the next six months. I am not sure if it's going to work out this fantastic every time I come back. Better than holding the trophy and winning today I guess is just being healthy, it feels great and means the world to me.
"We worked so hard last year, so to be back here, just feeling great, holding the trophy now, not dropping a set, it's just magical really. I can't believe it yet. It's too much really."
Federer also expressed hope that he would be back at the All England Club next year to defend his title, with retirement seemingly not an option at this stage.
Cilic could not contain his emotions as things rapidly deteriorated during his first Wimbledon final, with the 2014 US Open winner smashing his racket after dropping the first set and reduced to tears when calling the trainer to assess an injury.
He later took a medical timeout to receive treatment on a strapped left foot and revealed after the match that he was being hampered by a painful blister first suffered during his four-set semi-final win over Sam Querrey.
"I had a really bad blister, which I felt in my match against Querrey," Cilic said afterwards, as per The Telegraph. "Fluid came down under my foot. I felt pain and I was unable to do fast reaction. It was tough emotionally."
He added: "I had a feeling that I knew I could not give my best game and play my best tennis in such a big match. It was very difficult to deal with it, that feeling."