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The Skill That Most Determines Competitive Success (And How It's Been Key To Djokovic's Resurgence)...

 

 

Given that a break of serve would have almost certainly resulted in another Nadal Slam victory...who would have thought that when Novak Djokovic walked up to the line to serve at 7-7, 15-40 in the 5th set of their Wimbledon semi-final a few months ago that he would wake up regaining his #1 ranking by early November...

After all, in that moment he must have been experiencing significant self-doubt given that he hadn't won a Grand Slam for more than 2 years (which probably included the prediction that he would likely lose the match)...And he must have felt frustration at having just double faulted at 15-30 and earlier twice coming within 2 points of victory (0-30 on Nadal's serve).

But what happened next was that Djokovic cracked a Serve + 1 combo to force a Nadal error, followed by an ace. This gave an insight into what was to come in the minutes and months that lay ahead... And how Djokovic had regained the mental skill that had provided the foundation for him...

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The 2016 Men's Australian Open: The Big '4' is Now the Big '1'

 

 

When Novak Djokovic lost to Stan Wawrinka in the final of the French Open last year, I wrote this in my post-match review:

“His (Djokovic’s) efforts strongly indicate that his march towards becoming a master competitor is complete…Quite simply, his ability to maintain consistent competitive effort throughout the challenges of both his semi-final (in which he beat Murray in 5 sets) and final was hugely impressive…With the histrionics and hitches that were a feature of his early career play becoming almost nonexistent, unless players can repeat Wawrinka’s incredible level, it looks likely to become a Slam fest for Djokovic in the coming years.”

Funnily enough, it was the way Djokovic lostthat convinced me that he had overcome the final barrier (his occasional low stress tolerance) to becoming virtually unbeatable in the Slams…

And He Has Improved Since Then…

To understand how far Djokovic has raised the bar, anyone...

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The 1 Crucial Factor That Cost Federer Big Time Against Djokovic…

 

 

Before this match, I was curious to see many good judges predicting a Federer victory. And with Djokovic looking below par in the 3rd set, Federer had his chances to grab the match by the throat earning 2 break points at 3-4. But why did I feel, that even in these moments, Djokovic was a heavy favourite to go on and win the match? To answer this question, it’s important to first reflect on the dynamics of that commonly used word: CONFIDENCE.

 What is Confidence?

Confidence is simply the triggering of implicit memories of past outcomes in similar circumstances.

Implicit memories? What?

Implicit memories are memories that are created without us knowing we're remembering something (as opposed to explicit memories where we are aware that we are 'remembering' something).

For example, one type of implicit memory is called ‘procedural’ memory that relates to skill development...

An example of procedural implicit memory is learning...

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Novak Djokovic's Secret Mental Toughness Strategy...

 

 

The 2014 Wimbledon Final…

When Novak Djokovic prepared to serve at 3-3 30-40 in the 5thset against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon Final, imagine the internal challenges he would have encountered.

Being faced with the prospect of losing from 5-2 up in the 4thset must have been a chaotic mental test.

But fighting off break point in that moment and going on to deny Federer’s awesome comeback was an incredible effort.

Djokovic’s Improved Statistics…

To explore how much Djokovic has improved in the last few years I decided to compare his results from 2008-2010, with those from 2011-Present…

Grand Slam/ATP 1000 results 2008-2010: 79% winning percentage

Grand Slam/ATP 1000 results 2011- Present: 90% winning percentage

While this 11% improved winning % is significant, looking specifically at his statistics against Federer, Nadal, and Murray reveals an even more important story…

2008-2010: Murray 1-3; Nadal 5-10; Federer 5-8

2010-...

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