Roger Federer cruised to his 20th major title win adding yet another Australian Open to his impressive resume by beating a resurgent Marin Cilic on Sunday in Melbourne in five sets.
Astonishingly, at 36, Federer is showing no signs of slowing down. Former world number one and tennis legend Mats Wilander had this to say about Federer's play at this year's Australian Open, "He seems so relaxed, so happy and so determined. I think Roger Federer is playing the best tennis of his career." What a scary thought that must be for his opponents.
Federer is arguably the most significant sportsman in the world. His grace and elegance seem to follow him everywhere he goes from the court, to interviews, and even to his competition.
Earlier in the week, he took the time to console a younger German player who had just suffered a disappointing defeat.
"I just thought some nice words would maybe cheer him up, get him over the loss a few more hours earlier than it normally would. It's supposed to hurt. I'm sure it did. He looked crushed when I saw him." said Federer.
However, it wasn't always that way. You see how calm and composed he is on the court today and you just assume he has always just been that way. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Federer's immense talent on the tennis court was enough to land him on the pro tour. However, his temperament always got in the way of him winning majors. When things weren't going his way, he would often throw and kick his racket around. He would yell and scream out in frustration.
It wasn't until he made significant changes in himself, and let go of his anger that he started winning major tournaments.
In an earlier interview with Goalcast, Federer had this to say, "I had quite a transformation from a screaming, racket throwing, swearing kind of brat on the tennis court to this calm guy you know today. You will not grow if you are not willing to change yourself."
It was Federer's cool demeanor that enabled him to pull out the 5th set versus Cilic in today's final. Going into the 5th set he had just blown a lead in the match. He could have let his frustrations get the best of him. Yet, Federer kept his composure and quickly grabbed the momentum back winning the decisive set 6-1.
I believe Federer's willingness to look inward and make a change in his attitude and demeanor on the court is what made the most substantial difference in him transforming from being just another talented tour player to becoming a world champion and being highly admired worldwide.
It seems that so many people out there are unwilling to make the changes in themselves they need to get to the next level in their career. Instead, they become cynical and blame others for their lack growth. They become experts at making excuses.
I know because I was once there myself. I hit the wall in my career, and if I'm completely honest, I regressed a bit. I blamed the system or other external factors for my lack of advancement. The truth is I had stopped growing and improving myself.
Anybody can change their circumstances in life if they are willing to do so. It starts with realizing a change needs to be made. Then it takes the courage to follow through and make it happen as Federer has done.