Roger Federer has made it clear that he has no plans to retire after his comments during his post-match speech suggested that this could be his last season on the tour.
The Swiss ace was speaking after winning his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open after beating long-time nemesis and friend Rafael Nadal and said: "I hope to see you next year. If not, this was a wonderful run here and I can't be more happy to have won here tonight," Federer said during his on-court speech, as quoted by the Times.
Federer was quick to clarify afterwards that his comments were not pointing towards retirement, but that he could miss a Grand Slam or two in the coming years owing to him being more prone to injuries as he grows older. The 18-time Grand Slam champion, who has risen to number 10 in the world following his win at Melbourne Park, was at number 17 after missing the last six months of the 2016 season with a knee injury.
"This is all about knowing that I have only so much tennis left in me," the 35-year-old said. "If I do get injured, maybe I miss next year. Who knows what happens?"
"You never know when your next grand slam is going to be, if ever. You never know if you're going to have an opportunity at this stage. I felt I could thank so many people at once. It's a live audience. It's a moment for me to be appreciative of them.
"Look, I had a tough year last year. Three five-setters are not going to help. I just meant it the way I meant it. There wasn't something planned behind it, that this is my last Australian Open. I hope can I come back, of course. That's my hope right now," he explained.
The Swiss ace also praised Nadal following his win and credits the Spaniard for making him a better player during the course of their battles over the last decade. They were facing each other for the 35th time when they got on to the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday (29 January) and it was their ninth meeting in a Grand Slam final, a feat not achieved by any other pair in the modern era.
"Rafa definitely has been very particular in my career. I think he made me a better player. It remains for me the ultimate challenge to play against him. So it's definitely very special," the former world number one added.