As a seven-time Wimbledon champion, not to mention a universally admired athlete, Roger Federer has seen many glorious moments. But nothing quite like this. A week after his wife Mirka gave birth to twin boys, Federer still finds himself floating on the most beatific high.
"This is the best time of my life," he explained softly in Rome yesterday (Tuesday), almost as if he could not believe the latest extraordinary chapter of his personal script.
How poetic that it should have been twins. You can imagine the movie strapline: "Double trouble, all over again". After Myla and Charlene, born on July 23, 2009, we can now welcome Leo and Lennart (May 6, 2014).
At times, it feels as though Federer carries a magical force field that repels ordinariness. Even when it comes to the elemental business of carrying on his family line, the man is one in a million.
"When we found out we were having twins, it was like one of those moments where you're like: ' Wow, I can't believe it, it's really happening again'," Federer told The London Telegraph in his first interview since the boys' birth.
"But I always felt that there was a chance. My sister Diana has twins: a boy and a girl. And my grandmother on my mum's side was a twin apparently. So I guess that we jumped a generation.
"It is pretty extraordinary. But I don't feel special because of it. In fact I believe that it's more to do with Mirka, but the doctors might tell you otherwise.
"I can't actually remember when we found out: for me, Mirka being pregnant, that's the big news. And then, if it's one or two, that's secondary. Same with boys or girls, it didn't matter this time. I would have been really happy to have another two girls, because I love my girls so much. It's boys now, clearly, and I couldn't be happier."
One detail has yet to be resolved. Myla and Charlene are identical twins. It is always heart-warming to see them tootling around the All England Club on the eve of Wimbledon: fair-haired, dark eyed and clad in matching dresses.
So what about Leo and Lennart? "We don't know actually this time," Federer said. "For some reason, they couldn't tell if they were identical. So we are making a DNA test to find out."
Could he not perhaps supply a photo, just for the pleasure of a little untrained speculation? Federer smiled his foxy smile. "Yes, I do have a picture on my phone. And yes, I am showing my friends. But we don't know each other that well."
When the infants' first photograph is released, it will be the shot that is seen around the world. Their arrival has been one of the feelgood stories of the year, sending news websites into meltdown.
A few hardcore fans have gone so far as to place bets on them winning Wimbledon, while one ingenious soul mocked up a scorecard from a mixed-doubles final in 2035: Leo and Charlene on one side, Myla and Lennart on the other.
"Yeah I saw that," Federer said with a chuckle. "It was funny. I got so many messages and congratulations. It's nice to see that people are happy for me, and especially for Mirka, because she did the hard work.
"At the same time, people who know us, they try to give new parents some space because it is so intimate. We have had a lot of friends coming to visit the boys and Myla and Charlene, and also Mirka in particular. It has been very nice. I have loved it."
Federer has certainly been feted since his arrival in Rome, where he plays today in the Internazionali BNL D'Italia. As he strode through the players' lounge yesterday, every single person stopped what they were doing to offer their congratulations. Rafael Nadal, rushing the other way, paused for a hand-clasp and a hearty clap on the shoulder.
As Mirka was only due to reach full term this week, her husband had never expected to be here at the Foro Italico, amid the clay dust and the passionate local fans. But then, even the mighty Federers cannot predict nature's every twist and turn.
"Everything happened all of a sudden on Tuesday evening [May 6]," Federer explained. "That was a bit of a surprise, I thought it was going to be a few days or maybe a week or so down the road, so when it came on Tuesday it gave me a bigger chance to come and play here really.
"I spoke to the team and I spoke to Mirka, asked them all their advice about what I should do and they said that I should quickly come and play here. I said: 'OK, if you don't want me around, I'll go away'."
That last comment, just to be clear, was made in jest.
"I mean, I'd rather be home, no doubt about that, and I'd rather spend time with Mirka and the kids now. But it's a quick trip this one, and after that we hope that we can all make it together to Paris. I'm looking forward to coming back in a few days already.
"Those who are parents know how important the birth is and that everything went well. It's an unbelievable time, so much more interesting than just winning a tournament or anything. That is so, like, secondary. It's really exciting times now and you just want to be in touch and know everything that's going on. I'm calling her all the time and she's calling me and it's really, really beautiful."
Federer, unusually, was sporting a pair of faint dark patches under his eyes yesterday. But then, judging by his own account, the sleep deprivation could have been far worse. Typically, for this blessed family, Leo and Lennart have turned out to be perfect babies.
"One thing I didn't remember [from the first set of twins] is that they slept that much after they're born," he said. "I thought that they were maybe sleeping 18 or 19 hours a day. It's actually literally 22 hours, 23 hours, it's non-stop.
" I mean, they might have the odd scream. But it's really so much resting and literally just having their milk. It's that simple."
The hardest thing, Federer said, was deciding on what to call his young lads. Asked when he had come up with their names, he replied: "Maybe the day before. I must say boys' names was hard, girls' names was like this [snapping his fingers], even though we also didn't know until the girls were born what we were going to call them. We had to talk about it in the wake-up room.
"I feel like there's so many nice, beautiful girls' names, they're all cute and all that stuff, but with boys it's a totally different story."
Such issues are rarely discussed in professional tennis's locker-rooms. At 32, Federer has just become the first man since Ivan Lendl, in the early 1990s, to combine a full-time career with raising four children.
He has always said that he intends to keep playing for as long as he enjoys the game. It would be a major surprise, given his love of the Olympics, if he does not compete in Rio in two years' time. But will the boys grow up with any memories of their father playing at the highest level? That might require him to go on to 36, or even further.
"My plan is that they can also come on tour, and this time around at least we kind of know how to handle kids on the road," Federer said. "That was quite a challenge I must say [with Myla and Charlene], early on. Especially after they were one year old, when they started to become much more mobile and walking around a lot.
"Just because when you fly, when you're in transit, or hotel rooms - where do you go in the cities? Not that it's super-difficult, but we kind of know our way around know and how it's done.
"My wife does a lot of work, as much as she can. And I try to help as much as I can. We have the grandparents as well and all my team members, they sometimes just tag along. Clearly we also need some help on the road, so Mirka can have an opportunity sometimes to sleep in a little bit, or come to watch one of my matches."
"I'm aware it's going to be a lot of work," Federer said of his new life as the world's most famous father of four. "But this is not a time where anybody needs to feel sorry for me or get worried. It's super-exciting. With Myla and Charlene just being there and being with them, observing, just doing it all together, it's so cool. I'm really looking forward to it all, and the future is beautiful."
The Telegraph, London