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Source

His mental resilience, moreover, has both drawn from and supplemented the physical to a point where he now appears invulnerable. In professional sport, where every mask cracks, that is the hardest illusion of all.

What is meant by the bold part?

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A mask is used to hide who you really are. When it cracks/falls, it reveals the person behind it.
In the same lexical field, an illusion gives a fake look of reality to something that isn't real.

The article states that, in professional sport, every mask cracks, which means it is especially hard to fake/hide things and be someone you're not.

Thus, the author writes that Djokovic appearing invulnerable, in a field where it is very difficult to act like something you're not, is the hardest illusion of all.

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  • MadWard I didn't get the illusion part. What is illusion here? And why is that illusion hard?
    – Policewala
    Jun 8 '16 at 7:05
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    Second meaning in the Cambridge dictionary: something that is not really what it seems to be. The illusion here is that Djoko appears invulnerable, while he obviously isn't (he is a human being). It is hard because of the previous sentence, because it's complicated to appear like something you're not in professional sports.
    – MadWard
    Jun 8 '16 at 7:17

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