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2009 French Open
“The doubters said,
"Man can not fly,"
The doers said,
"Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared
In the morning glow
Watched from below.”
-- Bruce Lee
Tennis is inherently individualistic. You step on the court alone. You hit each shot in isolation. There is no sideline, no coach, no teammates.
Once you step on the court, your efforts are yours and yours alone.
With this point in mind, the limits and breaking points of tennis players are constantly scrutinized, and consequentially heavily doubted.
Roger Federer knows this better than anyone else.
Following the 2008 season and the 2009 Australian Open, many thought Federer's career was unraveling before our eyes at the hands of Rafael Nadal.
Federer, following a three-set loss to Novak Djokovic in Miami, made a rare dismissal of the hard-court season, stating "Thank God the hard-court season is over."
Previously in the same press conference, Federer stated "No one expects me to win."
Following this tournament, Federer went on to win the French Open for the first time and Wimbledon for the sixth time, expelling the doubt stemming from the purveyors of his decline.
But as 2010 spilled over into 2011 and 2011 into 2012, Federer suffered a historically long drought of not winning a major.
His age seemed to directly correspond with the lack of belief many had in his ability to capture another Grand Slam.
The world No. 1 ranking seemed to have left Federer, with no plausible return in sight.
But after putting together a marvelous end to 2011, capturing four titles and going on to win Wimbledon in 2012, Federer not only silenced his critics by once again overtaking the field for his 17th major, he cemented the record for the most weeks at World No. 1 (official on July 15, 2012).
Federer proved once more that he will stop at nothing. He wants every record to be his.
As for the losses, the doubters, the negativity, these all serve as motivation in achieving these goals.
He is an easily and readily lit fire, fueled by any medium that will allow him to strive for new heights and separate himself from the other greats of the game.