Roger Federer insists that he never thought he could win as many titles as he has at the start of his career, but admits that it will be fun to reach the 100-title milestone before he hangs up his racket.
The Swiss ace won his first title in 2001 after turning pro in 1998 and in the last 17 years, has racked up 96 men's singles titles, which also include 20 Grand Slams.
Federer is currently second on the all-time list behind American Jimmy Connors, who has 109 titles. But doubts have been raised about the Swiss star matching that record before he calls time on his career. The 36-year-old, however, has admitted that he will target getting to three figures before he retires, which is unlikely to be anytime soon.
The eight-time Wimbledon winner was recently crowned the oldest world number one in ATP history and he is the favourite to end the year as the top-ranked player, especially since his main contender, Rafael Nadal, is currently sidelined by injury.
Federer, however, is aware that his quest to cross the 100-title mark will require him to remain in peak physical condition. The Swiss ace is playing a limited schedule since his return from injury in 2017 and trying to focus on key events.
"Good question. I do not consider it as a goal. It would be fun to reach that number, because I never thought I could reach such a high number," Federer said after winning the Sportsman of the Year award at the Laureus World Sports Awards on Tuesday, 27 February, as quoted by the Express.
"I remember when I won my first tournament in 2001 in Milan, I said, 'At least, I have won one. For the rest of my life, I will be able to tell my children or my parents that I won one title.'
"So imagine, sitting here with six Laureus trophies and 97 titles, dreaming of the 100, maybe a bit surreal," the Swiss maestro said.
"But I will try, I have to stay healthy, hungry and motivated, and everything which I know works so much, but the healthy bit is clearly going to be a challenge. So we'll see how it works."
The 20-time men's singles Grand Slam winner is currently taking a break from the game following his win at the Rotterdam Open in February and will return to action at the Indian Wells Masters on 8 March.
Federer also picked up the Comeback of the Year gong at the Laureus Awards for his seven-title haul in 2017 after spending six months out with a knee injury in 2016.