What a match!
Each player winning 182 points...
But it was Medvedev who found the finish line.
Please take a few minutes to listen to his post match reflections (he was incredibly candid) and my thoughts on the vital learning lesson we can take from it.
I hope you had the chance to enjoy the festive season!
I spent a great couple of weeks with family before a busy start to the year working at the Aussie Open.
It was also great to see my colleague at MTT Pat Flynn experiencing being a member of the winning Canadian ATP Cup Team in Sydney.
It's sure great to be back in the thick of things in 2022 :-)
With that in mind, let's start this year's communications with what I believe is one of the most important understandings we can achieve when trying to respond well to difficult situations.
And it comes from a simple Aussie Open post match comment from Rafa Nadal. He said:
"Everybody has doubts, everybody feels frustrations....the most important thing is how you react"
So why are these comments so vital?
Well, usually when we think about the word 'acceptance' we are considering the skill of overt/external acceptance.
An example of this is when a player makes a mistake and 'accepts' the mistake and move on to the next...
I was interested to watch Jenny Brady's Australian Open semi-final victory press conference to see how she described winning such a tight match...
It was super refreshing to see her describe trying to finish the match so honestly.
The intensity of the nerves...
Her wandering mind which wanted to focus on the outcome...
The difficult physical sensations...
Far to often we live in fantasy land when it comes to our expectations of being able to control difficult emotions and unhelpful thoughts during matches.
This is not reality!
It's much more effective to recognise and normalise the fact that our human mind means that in competition, difficult thoughts and feelings will show up frequently and trying to reduce or avoid them typically won't work, especially when we most want to.
And so it was for Brady when she was trying to make her first Grand Slam final.
The most important lesson- she had all these difficult internal experiences and won...this is...
Novak Djokovic is still the undisputed king of the Australian Open and with each new Slam victory the likelihood that he will end his career as the all time male grand slam leader becomes more likely.
And for Daniil Medvedev what seemed like a possible changing of the guard yesterday now appears like more of the same old story- the young guns still have quite a ways to go.
In Medvedev's case, the capacity to cope with the greatest challenge took a significant hit as he mentally folded from about the middle of the match.
Here are my 3 main mental reflections from the match...
What an incredibly sad day for tennis.
How good one last slam run would have been. But alas its not to be…
With Roger Federer’s retirement announcement it got me reflecting on his greatest career mental traits.
And from there I actually found myself thinking about what tennis parents can learn from this…As parents of course are the greatest influences on whether we might be blessed enough to see another Federer like person and player in the future…
First, I believe he has 3 mental traits that stand out:
If 2 statistics characterise Federer's resilience, it is these…
i.) He came back from 2 sets down 10 times, and all-time record and more than Rafa and Novak combined.
ii.) And he never retired from a match that he started. When we consider the amount of niggling injuries he played with, and that Rafa and Novak have retired from matches about a combined 20 times, this is an amazing achievement.
2.) Performing his Best...
The last couple of months have been a little bit of a whirlwind for me having my first child…Kudos to all or you who are also parents- it didn't look as challenging as I'm finding it from the sidelines :-)
But with the fog clearing I had the chance to watch some of the ATP Finals during the week which was great J
And one moment stood out from a mental perspective…
When Dominic Thiem was trying to finish Novak Djokovic in the 2nd set tiebreak despite being one of the most relentlessly aggressive players on the tour, he didn’t commit to this gamestyle in that moment. Instead he played more conservatively and even defensively on a few points.
This cost him the set after having 5 match points….
He did amazingly well, however, in recommitting to aggression when down in the 3rd set breaker, to reel off an incredible run of points to get the win.
When asked whether his win was more of a mental battle than a physical battle...
Another Rafa Nadal French Open looked less likely at the beginning of the tournament as he reported feeling frustrated with the tournament balls and cool conditions.
He openly discussed his doubts whether he could win the tournament given these challenges.
Yet at the end of the tournament he stood as the champion once again following one of the best Grand Slam finals performances in the history of the sport.
Check out the key learning I took from his remarkable victory:
When asked how he had most helped Dominic Thiem as a junior, his former coach Gunter Bresnik replied, "Stress Tolerance".
And it is this one skill that most contributed to both Naomi Osaka and Dominic Thiem becoming 2020 US Open singles champions.
In a moment I will outline the basic steps to improving stress tolerance. But first, a couple of reflections on the finals matches:
Osaka Navigates Her Way to the Finish Line
Osaka is quickly stamping herself as a very special big tournament, big match player.
Regarding tournaments, 3 of her 6 career titles are now Grand Slams. For some context, excluding Serena, most of the best players in the world have historically won at least 5 regular tour tour titles for every 1 Grand Slam victory.
And in the biggest matches she is now 3-0 in Grand Slam finals. What is super impressive is the differing paths and challenges she's had to take and face to get to the finish line.
In her 1st US Open final she had to deal with...
If your efforts to help your players control emotions haven’t helped them compete better, you’re not alone!
Instead of trying to reduce the intensity of difficult nerves and frustration when they show up during matches, here’s an alternative 3 step approach that you can advise your players to use…
In the video, I’ll also explain why this approach is helpful. And if you’d like a copy of the activity instructions to go here: https://www.mentallytoughtennis.com/notice-look-activity-signup
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