For years, pundits have been lauding Roger Federer's game, pooh-poohing any intimation of weakness.
And yes, for all intents and purposes, the Swiss-born tennis superhero has proven himself to be, arguably, the greatest to ever hold a racket.
In the last year or two, however, the 30-year-old, who first rose to the No. 1 standing in 2004, has seen a steady decline in his ranking.
In fact, he was just downgraded on the tennis chart, plummeting to No. 4 within the last 24 hours, switching positions with Andy Murray. This is all the more heart-wrenching for the Michael Jordan of tennis who has not been ranked lower then No. 3 in eight years.
For Federer the perfectionist, the word "plummet" is a suitable description for a man who has to bear the indignity of being less than the best.
His run on top of the tennis world for 287 weeks and 237 consecutive weeks—both of which still stand as formidable—has made him a lionized figure, atop the pedestal in the pantheon of legends.
Some tennis analysts may argue the soft spoken Federer's best days as a prolifically successful juggernaut are in the past, and never to be relived again, except in flashbacks.
However, with some soul-searching and the desire to improve his game—which up to this point has been cast aside by his ego—the man who seemed too good to be true on the tennis court can once again embody the epitome of tennis transcendence in 2012.