Sharing recently (facebook/twitter), the lastest ‘finals wrap up’ from the ATP – Shanghai and the WTA – Linz tournaments there were two distinct examples of ‘professionalism’.
In Shanghai, Andy Murray was attempting to close out the match in the second set tie-break against Djokovic – to Murray just a continuation of his form from the US Open, but for his opponent this represented the ‘state of play’ leading into the end of year Masters and the Australian Open 2013 (January). Novak made the statement (saving 5 x match points) that the bigger picture and overall ‘state of play‘ in world tennis has him as the outstanding player in any circumstance – thus not allowing Murray any psychological advantage, in fact, quite the opposite.
Definitely heightened professionalism demonstrated.
The second example in the WTA – Linz, Victoria Azarenka (love the way she plays) leading 5-0 in the second set on her way to a straight sets victory, admitted to thinking it was all over, relaxed and put herself in cruise mode – her opponent came back and rattled off the next 4 x games, not a problem Vika regathered and won the set and the title. However this mindset sends a message to her contemporaries that maybe the world N0.1 likes to ease over the line ( ala Usain Bolt) !
This is not the ‘norm’ for her but demonstrates how professionalism at 95% can cause a hope in opponents that does not need to be there.
We have seen recently (Australian Story – ABC) a story of a man that once learnt about professionalism (1963-1964) went on to be the ‘benchmark‘ in the Open era.