NEWS

Federer's Basel commitment suggests several more Wimbledon appearances to come

February 22, 2017

Roger Federer has already shown this year that he is still capable of beating the best - and his latest announcement suggests he will be appearing at The Championships, Wimbledon for a few years yet.

The Australian Open champion has signed a new deal to take part in the Swiss Indoors tournament in his home town of Basel for three more years, taking him up to 2019, when he will be 38.

It suggests the 35-year-old will be playing for at least another three years and after his recent 18th Grand Slam triumph in Melbourne he must harbour serious ambitions of securing an eighth men's singles title at Wimbledon. If he does, it would make him the undisputed champion of champions, taking him clear of the record of seven he shares with William Renshaw and Pete Sampras.

The commitment also dispelled notions that he might soon be hanging up his racket, following his apparently ambiguous comments in the immediate aftermath of his triumph in Melbourne. On that occasion, he told the crowd: "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 here tonight."

Some saw those words as an indication that the Swiss superstar was uncertain if he would carry on beyond 2017, but others suggested he was simply referring to his run to the final and he was simply noting that he might not be so successful in 2018.

The fact that Federer feels he has plenty of fuel in the tank will make this year's Wimbledon even more exciting. As world number one and tournament holder, Andy Murray will probably be the favourite, but if Novak Djokovic can regain the form that has seen him crowned champion three times in SW19 and Rafael Nadal can continue the form that took him to the final in Melbourne, this year's tournament may be a spectacular tennis shoot-out between the big four.

At the same time, of course, Stan Wawrinka will be chasing the one Grand Slam he has not won in a bid to join the elite to have won all four and Milos Raonic will try to go one better than last year, while youngsters like Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev will be looking for their first Grand Slams.

If Federer's tennis longevity is exciting, so too is the women's game, with Serena Williams still going strong at 35 and looking to equal the all-time record of Grand Slams held by Australian Margaret Court - or even to surpass it if she can win the French Open first.

Add in sister Venus, a Melbourne finalist at 36, two-time Grand Slam winner in 2016 Angelique Kerber and emerging players such as Britain's Johanna Konta and the ladies' singles will also have potential for great stories to be written.

With all the big four, plus Wawrinka and the Williams sisters, aged over 30 by the time the tournament begins, it is small wonder that Federer is happy to sign up for more. As tennis players go on for longer, it seems the brightest stars in the firmament have no plans to turn out the lights. 

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