After almost forty years engaged in the professional tennis industry, the question most often asked is … what is needed to win ?
The Australian Open has just completed and the answer is evident for us all to see day after day, win after win, until the last day and then the victory is complete. Commentary on a players win or not, relates to the players armory and the game’s requirements – a strong serve, big ground shots, great movement, good consistency, low unforced errors, winners, tactics, percentages, court position, variety of placement, mental strength … or not !
Winning requires all these components but they are all learnt mechanics … a player does need this for every point, every set, every match, every day. However, when we look a little deeper each match success has a common thread, not just mechanics that are different for individual players.
The thread of thinking clearly about ‘the game‘ – where to impose‘my play’ and the instinct of that. Using the head in this manner allows a belief in the hard work done on the mechanics, leading to confidence at any stage of a match. Stops the player from being distracted by outside influences and inside ones like when the mechanics are not working as they should. Keeps a calmness/purpose to the ‘now’ and use of the head raises the concentration level (a heightened intensity) on the ‘big’ point/game/match moments.
The other thread is the heart and again it’s an instinct … not a will to win or emotion or energy or fight, all great qualities, but the heart is the courage, the bravery, the soul, the feeling of converting a win … or not, into a victory … something that defines who you are !
So the answer to the question is long and all the ingredients are important but if you have the head and the heart as defined above a win becomes so much more than a win … it becomes a statement !