LONDON (AFP) - Roger Federer insisted he fully intends to defend his Wimbledon title in 2018 despite delivering what many fans fear sounded like a farewell speech to Centre Court.
Federer, who will be 36 in three weeks' time, became the oldest Wimbledon champion of the modern era on Sunday (July 16) when he defeated injury-hit Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 for a record eighth All England Club title.
It was also his 19th Grand Slam triumph and second of the year after marking his return from a six-month absence with a fifth Australian Open title in January.
"We never know what happens," said the Swiss star, who had told the Centre Court crowd in his victory speech: "I hope to be back, I hope this wasn't my last match".
Federer first played Wimbledon in 1999 and won the first of his eight titles in 2003.
He admitted the lessons of 2016, when he failed to win a single trophy and skipped the second half of the season to rest a knee injury, have taught him not to plan too far ahead.
"Honestly, ever since I had the year I had last year, I think like a year ahead of time, you know, with my schedule, fitness schedule, tournaments I would like to play," he told reporters.
"So I totally see myself playing here this time next year.
"But because it's far away, because of what happened last year, I just like to take the opportunity to thank the people in the very moment, and make them understand, yes, I hope that I'm back.
"There's never a guarantee, especially not at 35, 36. But the goal is definitely to be here again next year to try and defend."