Federer's grace, Armstrong's disgrace

Above photo is Roger Federer.

They were two of the most dominant and visible sportsmen at the turn of the 21st century, and have leveraged on their inspirational exploits for philanthropic ends through their respective charity foundations.

But the lives of Roger Federer and Lance Armstrong could not have been more different during the weekend.

While Federer, 31, is eager to continue dazzling the world as he prepares for a 15th professional tennis season, 41-year-old Armstrong is apparently ready to confess that he used performanceenhancing drugs to win all seven of his Tour de France titles.

If true, it would mark the nadir of the American's stunning fall from grace.

In contrast, grace is something which Federer continues to show in abundance, whether on or off the tennis courts.

The lives of these two sportsmen could serve as a parable for all aspiring professional athletes, reminding them to never forget the ethical impact of their choices in their pursuit of sporting excellence.

Federer is no longer that surefire world beater of 2005-2007, when his otherworldly tennis strokes befuddled his peers and won him tonnes of reverential fans, who proclaimed him as the greatest.

During his brief stopover in Singapore last Friday, he came across more as a gentle statesman of his sport: articulate, thoughtful and well-respected for sustaining his competitive eagerness throughout his long career.

Even though he is still relatively young, he showed a deep awareness of being a global sporting icon and idol - something that has, perhaps, been drilled into his consciousness after being revered for his technical brilliance since his teenage years.

He said during his media conference in Singapore: "I know not every athlete wants to be a role model or an idol to other people, other kids... But, for me, it was important to have heroes growing up."

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