Roger Federer revealed that his 20th men's singles Grand Slam title was 'super special' as he did not fully believe that he could defend the title he won 12 months earlier in Melbourne.
The Swiss ace made it three major titles in a year when he won the 2018 Australian Open beating Marin Cilic in the final – he had also picked up his record eighth Wimbledon in 2017.
Federer was the favourite coming into the tournament owing to his form at the end of last year and he was the only one of the top players coming into the event without injury complaints. The 36-year-old came into the final without dropping a set but was taken the distance by the Croatian.
The Swiss tennis legend admits that this year's title was a bit harder to believe compared to last year despite the fact that in 2017, he won the title after six months on the sidelines with a knee injury. Federer was most surprised to have been able to defend his title, the first time he has done it since winning the US Open back-to-back in 2007 and 2008.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner admits that he never thought about defending his title when he came into the tournament, which helped him remain relaxed and indicated that he will probably lose when he comes into the tournament in 2019 thinking that he can win it again.
"I'm not sure how much I really felt like I could defend it. Maybe next year when I do come back I might actually believe I can win it. But then I probably won't win it," Federer said after his 20th Grand Slam triumph, as quoted on Tennis World USA.
"I'm just very excited that I have nothing going on in the next couple of weeks. It's all quiet so I can just take time to celebrate. Number 20 is super special so we'll try to make the most of it.
"It's one of the great moments in my career. I'm still a little bit confused that it's all over and that I was able to do it. It's just a lot trying to take it in. Last year it was more straightforward, just disbelief, this year it seems more surreal. I can't believe I was able to defend my title after all these years," the world number two explained.
Federer is currently on a break after winning the Australian Open. It is unclear when he is expected to return. He is still to communicate if he will take part in the Dubai Tennis Championships beginning on 26 February.