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Rafa's Incredible US Open Victory Reminds Us of Why We Love Tennis...

 

 

When I was a child I fell in love with tennis. I fell in love with the challenge... I fell in love with the fun... I fell in love with the competing...I fell in love with the camaraderie and much more. To this day all I need to do is picture in my mind walking into the outback tennis centres where I played most of my junior tournaments to trigger great joy.

For those of us who love tennis, watching the men's US Open final was a great reminder of why that is...Watching Rafa resist Medvedev's incredible fightback, like all great Grand Slam battles, shows us that ultimately it is the greatest sporting test. No other sport tests the physical, technical, tactical, and mental elements so completely.  

And this match proved to be the ultimate mental test. The physical demands, the pressure, trying to hang on when behind, trying to finish when in front, , the doubts, the wandering mind, the frustrations...It had it all :-)

This match was also a reminder that we...

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Nadal's Superpower and How Players Can Develop It...

 

 

During the 2018 clay court season, Rafael Nadal broke another amazing record, becoming the first male player to win 50 straight sets on any one surface. Consider that in his last 46 sets on clay before yesterday, no opponent had reached a tie-break against him and just once had someone achieved a 7-5 loss and his mind boggling run seems even more astonishing.

It got me reflecting on the mental attribute required to achieve such a feat and one stood out.

 Relentlessness…

Andre Agassi described this attribute well in his book: ‘Open’. He said this about the difference between the great champions and the rest:

The more you can be present on every point. I think that’s why you see great champions separate themselves at the end of a set or at the end of a match, because they are the ones that aren’t changing in their execution. They are not assigning a value to any one point more than another. It is about what they do...

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The Contrast In 1 Key Competitive Skill Between Nadal and Kyrgios: And Why Attitude Is NOT a Choice…

 

 

Watching Nadal and Kyrgios in the final of Beijing highlighted the contrast in 1 vital mental skill that we often fail to understand. Let’s explore it…

Nadal Is Actually Getting Better…

It’s hard to believe but Nadal is actually getting better. He is a competitive machine… Simply the greatest competitor the game has ever seen.

Last night is the best I’ve ever seen him play on a hard court. That he turned up to this rather minor tournament (for him) at this stage of his career and displayed the same desire to win as if it was a Slam is the very reason he has become so good and continues to improve.

His insanely high level had Kyrgios looking for an exit within 30mins.

Kyrgios Is Deeply Addicted to Reducing Fear and Pain…

The reasons that Nadal has become so great are many. But 1 of the most important that sets him apart from all but Federer is his consistent, career long ability to tolerate the fears that come with...

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When The Mental Wall Hits...And How Players Can Climb It

 

 

 

The 8thDay of the Australian Open showed how even the best professional players aren’t immune from hitting the mental wall.

First it was Dominic Thiem winning a total of 4 more games when leading Goffin 7-5 6-6 (4-4 in tie breaker)…

Next it was Istomin who, since shocking Djokovic, had continued his impressive display with a 3rdround victory and was then leading Dimitrov 6-2 6-6 from which point he won only 3 more games…

And next, Bautista Agut had fought his way back after losing the 1stset against Raonic 6-7, to win the next 6-3 and find himself at 4-4 in the 3rdwith several break point chances to serve for a 2 sets to 1 lead…He won only 1 more game from that point…

And finally, with Nadal stumbling as he neared the finish line Monfils suddenly found himself back in the match with a big chance to take it to a 5thset serving at 4-3 30-0 in the 4th…He failed to win another game.

Together this group of players (Thiem, Istomin,...

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The 2 Psychological Factors That Supported Fognini's Remarkable Comeback Victory Against Nadal...

 

 

At the end of this match I was left both dumbfounded and dizzy after witnessing an incredible comeback from 2 sets and a break down, including 7 straight breaks in the  5thset, and finally an insane level of play to finish the fairytale. Watching Fognini point to his head and pump his heart as he looked to his supporters to signify his massive mental effort left chills..

John McEnroe summed up the collective feeling well when he remarked, “That was one of the greatest, most spectacular comebacks you’re ever going to see…The level of play to mount that miraculous comeback will be remembered for a long time.”

But what allowed this moment to unfold when Rafa had previously been a perfect 151-0 when leading by 2 sets in Slams?

I contend that, during the crucial 3rdset, based on these players' combined recent histories, 2 key psychological factors consecutively unfolded to give Fognini a chance at the unbelievable; when; if faced with the...

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