London:Roger Federer has vowed to continue rewriting tennis history, but admitted he feels he still shares Pete Sampras's Grand Slam record rather than having eclipsed his great American friend.
Federer clinched a sixth Wimbledon title on Sunday after an epic confrontation with Andy Roddick, a victory which gave him a record 15th Grand Slam, surpassing Sampras's mark that he had equalled at the French Open in June.
Still only 27, Federer has played 39 successive Grand Slams and has amassed his collection of majors in the space of just six years.
Sampras was 31 when he won the last of his 14 Grand Slams at the 2002 US Open.
But with Sampras predicting the Swiss star could easily win at least 19 majors, Federer was quick to recognise the debt he owes to the American who returned to the All England Club for the first time in seven years on Sunday to see history made.
"I definitely feel like it's come full circle for me, starting here and ending it here," said Federer who won his first major at Wimbledon in 2003.
"Of course, my career is far from over. But I know how much the record meant to Pete and he knows how much the record means to me.
"In a way, I still feel like we share it just because he was such a wonderful champion. He still has one up against me here at Wimbledon (Sampras won seven Wimbledons)."
Federer appeared at his post-final news conference wearing a shirt with the legend "There is no finish line" emblazoned across the front.
However, his next engagement is a personal one with wife Mirka expected to give birth to their first child later this summer.
"I'm very happy. I don't know if I'm the happiest person in the world. I don't think so. I think there's many happy people out there. Tennis doesn't do it all for me. There's more to life than just tennis. But I feel great," said the champion.
Despite all of his records, fame and considerable fortune Federer said he is still amazed by his achievements in the sport.
"I never thought I could be this consistent, that great a player with so many qualities," he said.
Federer also insisted that his historic 15th Grand Slam title has not been diminished by the injury-enforced absence of old rival Rafael Nadal whom he will supplant at the top of the world rankings on Monday.
"I don't think it should. In tennis, that's the way it goes. Everybody expected Andy Murray to be in the final. He wasn't. It's not the mistake of the one who wins at the end," said Federer.
"Of course, I would have loved to play Rafa again. But, then again, I've also played Andy Roddick now in three great Wimbledon finals and I think he deserves credit, too, for playing so well.
"You never know how Rafa would have played, but it's sad he couldn't even give it a fair chance.
"I'm happy at least that I became No. 1 in the world by winning the tournament, not just by him not playing at all, or me playing decent or someone else playing decent and getting to No. 1. That's not the way it's supposed to be."