PARIS, June 8 – Roger Federer, with a first French Open and a career Grand Slam carved into his storyboard of achievements, believes he is poised for another record-setting spell, with time stacked in his favour.
The Swiss maestro realised a lifetime dream of finally lifting a Roland Garros title to become only the sixth man in history to win all four majors with his 6-1, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 victory over Robin Soderling equalling Pete Sampras’s record of 14 Grand Slam trophies.
But Federer, who is not 28 until August, vowed there is more to come, with his professional ambition fuelled further by his private life soon to be enriched by wife Mirka bearing their first child.
Federer, acutely aware of the history of the sport, knows that Sampras was four years older, at 31, when he won his last Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2002.
Andre Agassi was already 29 when he won in Paris in 1999 to become the fifth man to complete the Grand Slam.
The colourful American, who presented the French Open trophy to Federer on Sunday, won the last major of his career, his eighth in total, at the Australian Open in 2003 when he was 33.
Agassi was still reaching Grand Slam finals at 35, when he lost the 2005 US Open final to Federer.
The Swiss also knows that more majors will only serve to finish, once and for all, arguments over who is the greatest player of all time.
"I just tried to have the best possible career I can. I think it should be judged at the very end. How well did I do? Good? Great? Very good? Or medium? It’s for other people to decide," said Federer.
"Right now, I’m still playing. I haven’t retired, and I think I still have many more tournaments to go and many more Grand Slams.
"I’ll give it my best shot to have the best possible career.
"I hope I can maintain the records I have and I hope to break some other ones along the way. I hope to stay healthy. That’s most important because motivation and drive is not a problem for me."
Next Grand Slam stop for Federer will be the All England Club from June 22
where he will attempt to win back the Wimbledon title he had held for five years until Rafael Nadal took it back to Spain last year.
Nadal, who had defeated Federer in the last three finals in Paris, had himself been knocked out in the fourth round here by Soderling.
The world number one, so long Federer’s nemesis, is now a doubt for Wimbledon because of a knee injury, a factor that only serves to boost the new French Open champion’s outlook on life and career.
"If I had to retire tomorrow I would be happy because I feel like I’ve put everything out there," added Federer.
"I always said it doesn’t matter when I retire, I’ll be at peace. I can walk away from this game tomorrow, but I don’t choose to because I love this game too much.
"Tennis is not forever; I know that. But I’ll try to definitely enjoy it as long as I can."