Andy Murray was defeated but far from downcast as the curtain came down on the season of his life on Sunday night.
The world number three was beaten 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals by defending champion Roger Federer, who will now bid for a third successive title in Monday's final against Novak Djokovic, who was a 4-6 6-3 6-2 winner over Juan Martin Del Potro earlier.
"It was an incredibly positive year," the 25-year-old said. "I would have loved to finish the year on a win, of course. It's been the best year of my career by a mile. So why I would look back on that negatively now would be silly because I've achieved things I've never achieved before."
Murray rather fell away after a great start at London's O2 Arena but could be nothing but positive at the end of a year that brought him both Olympic gold and the US Open title, the first grand slam singles crown for a British man since 1936.
He added: "I wouldn't say whoever wins or loses the match tomorrow will look back on the year with huge disappointment. I think both of them have played really well this whole year and I have to try to view it the same."
Murray went into the clash as many people's favourite against a man who has lost only one match at the O2 since 2009. That came on Saturday against Del Potro when Federer was already through to the semi-finals and he has won more titles - six - and matches than anyone else at the season-ending tournament.
It was all so different at the start on Sunday night as Murray came out firing, breaking Federer's serve in the first game and pushing for a second but Federer dug in and hit back to level at 4-4, and from then on Murray was the one under pressure.
He forced a tie-break but lost an epic point that gave Federer a 6-4 lead, and the champion took his second set point. Murray needed a good start to the second set but was broken from 40-0 in the third game and there never looked like being a way back from there.
"I think he played well," Murray added. "I didn't think it was an incredibly high standard in terms of the length of points. There were a lot of quick points.
"I started the match well. He came back in, got the tie-break. Once he gets ahead he's incredibly hard to stop. He tends to play better and better when he gets up. I feel like I gave him that advantage at the beginning of the second set."