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...
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...
When Dominik Thiem was 11 years old, his coach Gunter Bresnik decided that he was too defensive and on the path to becoming just an average player. So he instructed Thiem to i.) start hitting his backhand one-handed and ii.) hit every ball as hard as he could.
Thiem hardly won a match for the next 18 months as his ranking went from 3 in Austria for his age to somewhere in the 20's. Other coaches thought Bresnik was advising Thiem incorrectly and other parents thought Thiem's parents (who are also coaches) were ill-informed and making a big mistake in letting Bresnik guide their son in this way.
In a 2016 interview Bresnik recalled, “I told his father, ‘If you go to a tournament and the people stop by and say who is this idiot who hits every ball as hard as possible?’ then we succeeded,” Bresnik said. “To make him hit the ball in the court is just a question of time. We needed to break down this barrier that he tries to put the ball...
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