Roger Federer has made a living out of defying expectations, and he’s done it again this year—perhaps more so than ever before.
At 35 years of age, returning from a six-month layoff in which he underwent knee surgery, the Swiss won his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
A month later, the world No. 4 completed the Sunshine Double with consecutive championships in Indian Wells and Miami. He hasn’t played an ATP match since hoisting the trophy in Key Biscayne on April 2.
What spurred his unprecedented comeback? Immense talent and hard work, of course. But a new, fresh perspective has also played a significant role in his recent success, he said.
“I had a great buildup,” Federer said. “I got really rejuvenated and fresh and ready, and excited to come back on tour again. And I was finally able to speak differently to the press and everybody, and just tell everybody how little expectations I really have.
"Because for the last 15 years I always said, more or less, ‘I want to win the next tournament I enter,’ because that was reality. Because of this injury, it sort of reset everything, and it was a beautiful thing.”
Federer hasn’t played on clay in 2017, and won’t take part in any tournaments on the surface aside from Roland Garros. The 2009 French Open champion hasn’t committed to playing the second Slam of the season, but he’s expected to be ready to go for Paris. He’s 19-1 on the season, with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai.