'I always knew I had it in my hand'
Roger Federer's emphatic Australian Open victory over Andy Murray on Sunday was the perfect riposte to those who have questioned his continued hunger for Grand Slam success.
The 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 win shattered British dreams of a first men's grand slam champion in 74 years and dashed the notion that the new husband and father might temper his pursuit of glory after breaking Pete Sampras's grand slam record.
"I always knew I had it in my hand. The question is (did) I have it in my mind and in my legs," Federer told reporters after extending his record to 16 Grand Slams, two more than Sampras and a whopping 10 more than nearest current challenger Rafa Nadal.
"That's something I had to work extremely hard at. Now I feel like obviously I'm being pushed a great deal by the new generation coming up.
"I think that's also thanks to guys like Murray. They've made me a better player, because I think this has been one of my finest performances, you know, in a long time, or maybe forever."
Image: Roger Federer poses with the Australian Open trophy
Federer believes Murrary will win a Grand Slam
A year after shedding bitter tears in the wake of his five-set loss to Nadal for the title in 2009, the imperious win left his opponent choking back sobs, having missed five set points in an epic third-set tiebreaker.
The raw emotion that cut Murray's presentation speech short was all too familiar to Federer, who spent months battling to find lost confidence and form last year.
"You know, in a way it was hard to watch, but at the same time I like seeing players who care for the game," said Federer.
"It's nice to see. So you wish only the best for him.
"The next one is not gonna get any easier (for Murray). But his game is so good that I'm convinced he will win one."
Image: Roger Federer in action against Andy Murray in the Australian Open final
'My game is not as taxing as other players' games'
The latest Grand Slam success has not fuelled any new ambitions for Federer, who said simply he hopes his twin girls might join his wife Mirka in the players' box next year.
"My game is not as taxing as other players' games. I also think I have a very relaxed mind when it comes to the game of tennis.
"But off the court, it's a matter of relaxing and enjoying it, you know, seeing friends and families. There's more important things than tennis after all.
"I think that's something I've always had a clear vision of how my life is. I think that's also helped me to go through better and tougher phases, because I know this is an incredible trip I'm on.
"We'll see where it ends, you know. I hope not anytime soon."
Image: Roger Federer