He has never doubted that he would be back on top of the world again
Roger Federer believes becoming a father and celebrating his 30th birthday inspired him to a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title.
Federer moved level with Pete Sampras on seven All England Club titles and celebrated a 17th Grand Slam crown with his battling win over Britain’s Andy Murray in his eighth Wimbledon final.
The win, secured beneath Centre Court's £80 million roof, also allowed him to return to the top of the world rankings.
All in all, not a bad day’s work for a man who had been written off as a relic in the new golden age of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and who had been without a Grand Slam title since collecting his 16th at the 2010 Australian Open.
But Federer said he has been driven on by wanting to see his twin girls Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, who will turn three later this month, get the chance to witness their father in action in his pomp, not his decline.
“People forget sometimes I do have twin girls. That has had a massive impact on my life. It’s helped my game more than anything because I think I’m playing some of the best tennis of my life right now,” said Federer.
“But just to be able to juggle everything together has been a challenge. And I think you learn from mistakes. You try to make it work for everyone involved. Hasn’t always been easy, you know. I admit that.
“The victory today is a dream come true today for me and my family and seeing them there. Yeah, it's big.”
Federer is five years older than Murray and Djokovic, who was deposed as champion at Wimbledon by the Swiss star in the semifinals, and four years the senior of Rafael Nadal, who claimed a record seventh French Open last month.
Beating Djokovic and Murray in successive matches at the All England Club has given Federer even greater cause for optimism that the future holds even more success.
Despite Djokovic and Nadal having played in the previous four Grand Slam finals, Federer is still part of the golden age equation — 29 of the last 30 majors have been shared among the three men.
“I feel I have a great game. I’m so happy I'm at the age I am right now, because I had such a great run and I know there's still more possible.
“It’s very different than when I was 20 or 25. I’m at a much more stable place in my life. I wouldn't want anything to change. So this is very, very special right now.”
Federer, whose next target will be a quick return to the All England Club for the Olympics, said he never doubted that he would be back on top of the world again.
“It was just a temporary thing,” said Federer, after his two-and-a-half year wait for another Grand Slam title.
“I believed that maybe down the stretch, like with Andre Agassi (who was 32 when he won the 2003 Australian Open) it’s like a stepping stone, a period I have to go through.
“I'm going to win 90 per cent of my matches throughout the year, it’s impossible every single year. So you're always going to go through ups and downs.
“But I knew how close I was for the last few years, and some people didn't quite see that.”
Meanwhile, Federer praised golf superstar Tiger Woods for the American’s support as he stormed to a record-equalling title.
Woods tweeted Federer after the Swiss star had claimed a 17th Grand Slam crown, although Federer didn't need to resort to social media to find that out.
Woods had already sent him a personal message of congratulation.
“Hats off to Murray for a great fight. But we saw why Fed is the #GOAT,” tweeted Woods, using the short form for ‘greatest of all-time’.
“I didn't need to get it through Twitter, I got one from himself,” Federer told reporters.
“He was very pumped up these last couple days for me. He was very supportive.
“It's nice when other greats like this do believe in me. They push me further,” said Federer.
“I wish him (Tiger) the best as well. He knows that. Obviously with Facebook and Twitter and all this it's much more public now. But it feels great to receive so much support from such great athletes.”
Federer wouldn’t reveal what Woods’s personal message had been.
“Just happy, you know. Whatever. You can make it up,” he joked.
Federer, only the third man over 30 to win Wimbledon and the second oldest behind Andre Agassi to take the world top ranking, was happy to name-check a host of sporting inspirations.
“If I can help the game of tennis with the image or making it more popular, that's enough for me really,” Federer said.
“I want to leave the game better off than when I came into this great game, which was already unbelievable with the great rivalries we had — Becker and Edberg, Courier and Agassi and Sampras.
“I drew a lot of inspiration from other great athletes in other sports — like Sampras and Edberg and Becker, maybe Michael Jordan, Tiger, Valentino Rossi. They inspire me to keep on pushing further.”