Do you remember what it felt like when Emmitt Smith hung up his cleats, no longer hustling in the Dallas Cowboy backfield?
Or how the Windy City sighed when the Chicago Bears could no longer rely on "Sweetness” to gain impossible yardage to convert on a third down?
When was it that Edwin Moses no longer dominated the 400-meter hurdles at the summer Olympics or Michael Jordan no longer jammed the ball home for the Chicago Bulls?
You see, great athletes not only impact themselves and their teams––they have a profound influence on the game itself, and its fans. They push the limits and stretch former boundaries as peers and competitors learn that something new is possible and try to follow their lead.
The longer they play, the greater the record.
Their time to excel on the playing field––whatever its boundaries––is limited, because no player’s athletic life goes on forever, despite rumors to the contrary brought on by Brett Favre aficionados.
Sooner or later the athlete cannot continue to improve, and if you cannot continue to add to your game, the process of subtraction begins––you begin to move toward “less.” You settle for “good” rather than maintaining “great.”
For Roger Federer to prove he is moving forward, to add to his game, he must increase the distance he has established between himself and everyone else on tour. He must add to his already staggering records to bounce back into glory once again.
How many of these records are reachable by anyone currently playing tennis today, including Federer himself? Can Federer himself improve on perfection??