Tennis fans, rest easy. It looks like Roger Federer has plenty of years left in him.
The 35-year-old turned back the clock in January with a stunning triumph in the Australian Open final, toppling old foe Rafael Nadal in five brilliant sets at Melbourne Park.
For Federer, just making it to the second week was a great result given he missed the last six months of 2016 with a knee injury, but he did far more than that, ending a grand-slam drought dating back to 2012.
Given Federer’s age, it may have been his last Australian Open, but that looks highly unlikely now after he signed a deal overnight (AEST) with the Swiss Indoor tournament in Basel.
Federer’s agreement ties him to the tournament for the next three years, ensuring he’ll be playing competitive tennis until 2019.
“I cannot wait to return to my home country in the autumn,” Federer said, as quoted by the Swiss Tennis Federation website.
“Playing in Basel is always a highlight of the year.”
While it is possible that Basel may be one of the few events on his calendar, particularly by the time 2019 comes around, it seems highly unlikely that Federer would bypass the grand slams but continue to play in Switzerland.
Federer said in 2016 that he hoped to play for “a few more years”.
“I know I am not eternal,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It’s normal, and to say the truth, it’s from when daughters (were) born, seven years ago, that I started to ask questions to myself about the future.
“But then the body sends positive signs. Despite the operation [on his knee], my family supports me and is happy to travel around the world with me.
“When the body will not keep up and at home they will be tired, I will stop. But I do not think that will happen so much soon.
“I still enjoy playing, so you will see me for a few more years.”
But Federer re-ignited speculation on his future when he told the Melbourne crowd after his Australian Open win: “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 tonight.”
Federer, who has not played since his grand-slam success in Melbourne, is currently promoting the Laver Cup — named after Aussie great Rod — which has been dubbed tennis’s version of golf’s Ryder Cup.
It launches in Prague in September, with the yearly event to feature teams from Europe and the ‘Rest of the World’.
Federer and Nadal are both confirmed as players for the 2017 event.
Federer’s next ATP Tour assignment comes at the Dubai Duty Free Championships next week.