Roger Federer has begun his comeback ahead of the Australian Open with a declaration that he has no imminent plans to retire.
The 17-times Grand Slam winner will turn 36 in 2017 and has been out for several months with a knee injury, but he was happy to look forward as crowds of schoolchildren watched him play beach tennis with the premier of Western Australia Colin Barnett on Cottesloe Beach in Perth.
Federer, who is in the city to play mixed doubles in the Hopman Cup with compatriot Belinda Bencic, said: "I'm really positive. I took these six months off so I would be playing for hopefully another two to three years, not just another six months or so. So my mindset is for the long term."
Fans booking corporate hospitality for The Championships, Wimbledon may be particularly excited by Federer's declaration of intent.
It was at the All England Club in 2001 that a 19-year-old from Switzerland announced his talent to the world with an epic victory over reigning champion and seven-time Wimbledon winner Pete Sampras. It symbolised the passing of the baton to the next generation as Federer went on to win seven titles of his own, playing a game that matched huge power and consistency with touches of incomparable wizardry.
Novak Djokovic has twice stood in the way of a record eighth title, and the challenge of adding one more Grand Slam could be beyond Federer as Andy Murray makes centre court his own. But even if he is unable to go all the way again, the news that Roger Federer is back and will be a part of Wimbledon fortnight this year and next at least will delight tennis lovers.
The Hopman Cup is a popular event for players beginning the season as they prepare for the Australian Open, which starts on January 16th.
Andy Murray has played in it several times in recent years, but has opted to take part in the Mubadala World tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi this time, followed by the Qatar Open in Doha.
Murray said that after losing five Australian Open finals he wanted to prepare differently for the year's first Grand Slam.