Having spent the majority of the 2016 season battling with poor form exacerbated by considerable knee and back injuries, Roger Federer has rediscovered his mojo.
Oozing finesse, the Swiss captured an 18th Grand Slam title in Melbourne, and has also clinched two ATP Masters events so far in 2017.
At the age of 35, such a rejuvenation is unheard of and has caused the likes of Boris Becker to contend that Federer is not just a tennis great, but a sporting legend in the same category as the likes of Muhammad Ali and Pele.
Federer has been as shocked as anyone by his performances, which have coincided with the marked drop in form of both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
However, he believes that there has been one central reason behind this renewed success.
Speaking to the Tennis Channel after an exhibition match against John Isner, he 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, who has recently rekindled his old rivalry with Rafael Nadal, went on to further explain how time away from the game helped him to rediscover his enthusiasm.
“I was able to spend some incredible time with the family and start preparing for this season and hoping that the work that I put in the off season was going to really pay off.
"I was going to get a second chance to really play tennis again on the professional tour and so when I did come back in Australia was really exciting."
Despite recent speculation, next up for the all-time great will be a trip to Paris for the French Open.
"I am registered and my intention is to play,” announced Federer to the delight of the crowd in Seattle.
Roland Garros has been his least prolific Grand Slam venue down the years, with a single victory in 2009 the only occasion on which he could break Rafael Nadal’s dominance on clay.
With Nadal clinching warm-up titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, he will again be the man to beat.
However, in 2017, anything seems possible for Federer, a great champion who is fresh and highly motivated.
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