For years now, Tennis experts and fans have demanded that Roger Federer hang up his boots and quit while he is still among the best players in the world. The old adage of 'Leave when people ask why rather than why not' is probably being thrown around a lot.
But people have underestimated the sheer love that the 20-time Grand Slam champion has for the game of tennis. While many people thought the epic final at Wimbledon earlier this year where the Swiss champion lost narrowly to Novak Djokovic would be his last hurrah, the 38-year old still seeks improvement.
Federer spoke in an interview where he talked about how he needs to"go back to the drawing board" in order to get his game back to its best after "just missing out on the big one (Wimbledon)."
The Swiss maestro also made it clear that concerns about his legacy getting tarnished by failures in the last stage of his career are baseless, from his point of view.
"I don't think the exit needs to be that perfect, that you have to win something huge ... and you go, 'OK. I did it all.' It can be completed in a different way, as long as you enjoy it and that's what matters to you.
"People, I don't think, anyway, remember what were the last matches of a John McEnroe, what were the last matches of a Stefan Edberg. Nobody knows. They remember that they won Wimbledon, that they won this and that, they were world No. 1. I don't think the end, per se, is that important," Federer stated in an exclusive interview to Associated Press.
The 8-time Wimbledon champion also brushed aside the constant discussions about how much longer can he continue to be in the circuit.
"I mean, I don't think about it much, to be honest. It's a bit different (now) that I know I'm at the back end of my career. But I feel like I've been toward 'the back end of my career' for a long, long time."
Well, Federer certainly has no dearth of motivations for continuing his career. The fact that he is only behind Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal both in the rankings suggests that he has a decent chance to add to this tally of 20 Grand Slams. Since grass has been his favourite surface, the 21st major title may well be his 9th Wimbledon trophy.
But there is another milestone that has evaded Federer, rather strangely, over his career. He has never won the Olympic gold in singles competition. Next year in Tokyo, he would have, most certainly, his last chance. Let's see whether he can make good of it.