Australian Open 2018: Roger Federer to set his priorities in order to prolong trophy-laden career
Federer won back-to-back Australian Opens by beating Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 on Sunday.
Melbourne: Age-defying Roger Federer says after winning his third Grand Slam title in a year he has no idea how long he will continue playing.
The 36-year-old Swiss marvel continues to defy the years and attrition rate, reaching his 30th Grand Slam decider and claiming his sixth Australian crown and 20th Grand Slam title.
The World No 2 won back-to-back Australian Opens by beating Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 on Sunday, dropping his only sets of a stress-free tournament.
Federer, who downed great rival Rafael Nadal in a classic five-set Australian final last year, eased through this year's event with five of his seven matches finishing on or under two hours and he spent just a total of 13 hours and 53 minutes on court.
Asked after his Melbourne triumph how much longer he can continue at the summit of men's tennis, he replied: "No idea. 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."
Federer said his age didn't come into it when questions were raised about his continuing longevity.
"I don't think age is an issue, it's just a number," he said.
"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."
But he added: "Exciting times ahead. As a professional, it's what we do. But I'm happy I'm in that position right now."
His emotional victory in Sunday put him alongside Novak Djokovic and Australian Roy Emerson with the most Australian titles at six.
While his long-time rivals Nadal, Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray have injury concerns heading into the new season, not only did Federer blaze on into the final but he finished stronger than Cilic, who is seven years younger, in the fifth set.
Federer was the oldest man at 36 to reach the Australian Open final since Australians Ken Rosewall (37) and Mal Anderson (36) played in the 1972 decider.
He explained his circumstances which allowed him to play on.
"I think by not overplaying, not playing every tournament possible. I enjoy practice. Not minding the travel. Having a great team around me, they make it possible," he said.
"At the end it's seeing that my parents are incredibly proud and happy that I'm still doing it. They enjoy coming to tournaments. That makes me happy and play better."
Federer is the father of two sets of twins, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva and Leo and Lenny with wife Mirka, a former player he met at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Despite his win, Federer will remain World No 2 behind Nadal while Cilic has climbed from six to a career-high three.
Cilic overcame Federer on the way to winning the 2014 US Open final, but it remains his only win in 10 encounters.
Nadal is the top seed in Madrid and will play either compatriot Carlos Alcaraz or the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino in the first round while he is due to meet Dominic Thiem, a finalist at the French Open in 2018 and 2019, in the last four.
Italian Open: Novak Djokovic overcomes 'strange' three-hour rain delay to reach third round after beating Taylor Fritz
Djokovic, 33, playing his second tournament since winning his ninth Australian Open in February, will play Cameron Norrie or Alejandro Davidovich for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Serb, who won his 18th major at the Australian Open in February, insisted his focus now is on surpassing Federer's haul of 20 Grand Slams - a record he shares with Rafael Nadal.