After a disheartening loss to Novak Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals on Monday, Roger Federer failed to end 2012 on a good note.
But the No. 2 player in the world, despite being 31 years of age, still has plenty left in the tank.
Part of the reason why Federer was able to go 71-12 with six singles titles this season was because he has taken good care of his body throughout the years. That, combined with his effortless, gliding game, has allowed him to keep from wearing down too much as he gets older.
After 2011 (aka the rise of Novak Djokovic), you wondered if Federer would be passed by entirely. Indeed, Djokovic beat him three out of five times this year, and Andy Murray beat him twice (including at the London Olympics), but don't forget Federer's victory at Wimbledon in which he beat Djokovic in the semifinal and defeated Murray in the final. That showed that the Swiss still has the ability to win big tournaments.
But it takes more than ability to win big tournaments. The main thing is that one of tennis' all-time greats still has the passion.
Federer mentioned "the love for the game," the crowds, going after records and playing against different styles and generations were just a few reasons why he continues to push forward, per the Independent.
Federer said, via the Independent report:
I think you need inspiration, motivation from different angles to keep you going because it isn't that simple just to wake up every morning and go for another travel around the world, another practice, another fitness workout, another stretch.
All of the tennis players who won Grand Slams in their 30s had one unquestionable thing in common: Something pushed them forward, whether it be the love of the game or the inability to simply lay down the racket.
Federer won Wimbledon this year not only because of his dedication to the sport, but because he never quit, never stopped believing, even when forecasts of doom surrounded him in 2011.
That is the mark of a true great, perhaps the greatest of all time.
One thing we should have learned by now is to never doubt a legend.