Roger Federer says managing his tournament schedule will be key to sustaining his revival in men's tennis after he claimed a 20<sup>th grand slam title at the Australian Open.

The 36-year-old had joined a select band of players to have reached the milestone, with Margaret Court [24], Serena Williams [23] and Steffi Graf [22] the only individuals to have captured more singles crowns.

Having won three of the last five grand slam events, Federer is within touching distance of becoming the oldest men's world number one in history after Rafael Nadal withdrew at the quarter-final stage in Melbourne.

But he will not compromise his season to chase down the Spaniard, who is currently nursing a hip problem.

"No idea," said Federer, when asked for how long he can sustain his run of form. "Honest, I don't know. I have no idea. I've won three slams now in 12 months. I can't believe it myself. I just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen. Then I don't think age is an issue, per se. It's just a number.

"But I need to be very careful in my planning, really decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that's what's going to dictate how successful I will be. Exciting times ahead. But, no, as a professional, it's what we do. But I'm happy I'm in that position right now."

The evergreen Federer could return to the top of the ATP rankings as early as March if he wins the Dubai Tennis Championships. Nadal is due to play at the Mexican Open simultaneously – where he has 300 points to defend – and is powerless to prevent his great rival overtaking him.

A constant presence through Federer's dominance of global tennis has been his wife Mirka, who was once again in attendance at the Rod Laver Arena to see her husband collect his sixth title Down Under.

Mother to two sets of twins – Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, Lenny and Leo – Federer has paid tribute to his partner for laying the foundations of his success.

"My wife who makes it all possible," he added. "Without her support, I wouldn't be playing tennis no more since many years. But we had a very open conversation, if she was happy to do this or not, years ago.

"I'm happy that she's super supportive, and she's willing to take on a massive workload with the kiddies. Same for me, because I wouldn't want to be away from my kids for more than two weeks. This life wouldn't work if she said no. Many puzzles need to fit together for me to be able to sit here."