Tennis is the kind of one against one sport that mirrors life in general where, at times, you have to face problems on your own. No one else can hit the ball over the net for you unless you are playing doubles! There are some useful and timeless success tips available in any tennis competition.
One of the big surprises of Wimbledon 2006 was the match between Andy Roddick, world number three, and unseeded Andy Murray, at the end of the first week.
Murray won the first set and the score was three games all in the second. Roddick was willing to take a risk by coming in to the net on a big point. McEnroe commented that this ‘showed some character’ on his part.
Success usually involves the willingness to take calculated risks. It does not involve diving into a swimming pool without checking that someone has put water into it. I believe this has happened at least once.
Roddick began to show more intensity. He won a point with his powerful serve and gave a great roar to gee himself up and send a message to Murray that he meant business.
Martial arts students are encouraged to yell for similar reasons. It gees them up to take powerful action without worrying about getting hurt and it startles the opponent. Even wild animals can be frightened off by a sudden, sharp noise as they approach close to their victims.
However, yelling on its own won't get the job done though it may help. You may still have to follow through with powerful action such as running for your life! Bluster is not enough in any game or activity. Intimidation without decisive action does not work on experienced players.
John McEnroe knows this well:
"He's trying to intimidate Murray a little here but the only way he's really gonna do it is with his play. "
In the end, Murray won that game and the score was 4-3 in the second set.
Murray questioned an over rule and looked as if he had lost his concentration but he recovered quickly. Successful people soon get over perceived minor injustices and get on with the job in hand.
"Roddick does not have the touch that Murray has but he has the power and should use what he has" said McEnroe. Instead of worrying about the skills they don't have, even champions should use the ones they do have.
Roddick paused in the last game of the second set to flick the ball up to a little ball girl. She caught it and ran to her place. It may sound sentimental but the truly successful think of others.
It could be argued that successful people are not necessarily the wealthy and powerful. They are those that spend their lives being kind to others and who make the most of their abilities. Back to the game!
Murray won the second set.
The crowd started doing Mexican waves. Someone asked John McEnroe to join in: McEnroe had a go but doing a Mexican wave is not easy in a cramped commentary box: “I did join in" he protested, " but I hit my head. I'll give it another shot if you want. " He is not one to back down from a challenge.
Murray queried a ball: “It was at least a foot out. " In fact it was an inch out. McEnroe observed wryly: “In a tennis player's mind that's a foot. "
Murray won the game anyway. He was playing the ball brilliantly and was hitting winner after winner.
After two hours, Roddick broke Murray's serve. However, Murray broke back immediately aided by a double fault from Roddick. He threw in some shots that totally surprised Roddick. Murray shouted in triumph after a great serve.
"He does have fire in his belly doesn't he?" said an English commentator. Few people can succeed without being driven by some kind of passion or enthusiasm.
Roddick moved in to volley but missed. “I just don't get the feeling that he really believes in it when he moves in. " McEnroe constantly stresses the importance of belief in what you are doing.
He advises that, if you are low in confidence, you could hit some shots over a low part of the net until you get your belief back. Do something easy to give you the confidence to face something more difficult.
Murray had only half a second to get his racquet on Roddick's 142 miles per hour serve. The line judge took evasive action and the ball thudded into the back of the court.
Murray took his chances on Roddick's second serve. The crowd were looking at a world class player being dismantled by a teenager. The TV camera picked out a woman praying in the audience.
"Any help gratefully received" said a commentator.
Many successful people believe in the power of prayer or some other kind of link with the energy of the universe.
Murray looked hungry and keen and was playing superbly. In the end he achieved a straight sets win on the biggest stage of his career.
A different Murray appeared on the following Monday to face Marcos Bagdhatis. He was soon two sets down. At the end of the second set, a child's voice called out: “Play Better!" The crowd laughed. It was shrewd advice!
Connors remarked: “He'll learn a lot about himself today if he stays right in there and tries to win it point by point. "
Murray suffered from a bad call. Maybe getting angry might be the thing.
Connors observed: “Murray should show his anger at a call and then get rid of it. He harboured that disgust for a game. He's still harbouring the resentment. "
Murray's game continued to suffer. He looked a little lazy. Jimmy Connors hates slackers:
"That's just too casual; not getting down to the ball; not putting any effort into it. "
Even John Lloyd was critical: “He's just throwing this match away. "
But Murray's tennis was beginning to pick up. At 3 - 2, he was ahead.
Jimmy said: “Let's get some action, some arguing - anything. First; get your tennis to another level. Use your anger at a perceived conspiracy to fire you up rather than depress you. Intimidate the guy in the chair. Let him know he's not doing his job!"
The crowd had been lifted now. They felt that something was happening with Murray. Murray led 4-3.
However, Bagdhatis had kept calm from the start. He understood the crowd would be against him and just got down to business.
They reached the tie breaker in the third set. Murray was throwing away points and the match. He shouted out: “Horrible tennis! Horrible tennis!"
Bagdhatis, on the other hand, played the kind of tennis he needed to win and he deserved to win
Jimmy Connors was disappointed: “Andy Murray had momentum after beating Roddick. If he could have brought out that kind of tennis today the result might have been different. "
Jimmy continued: “You have to learn how to win when you are not playing so well. Murray didn't look like he would die to win each point. He looked like: ‘I'll pull out of this and try again next year. ’ That's not acceptable to me It's time for him to move to the next level. "
John Lloyd was less demanding: “He's had a good Wimbledon and may win this tournament in a few years. "
Andy Murray was harder on himself: “There's no excuse for the way I played today. I have to learn from that but not dwell on it too much. I played some good tennis in this tournament but not today. "
On Wednesday, Federer beat Ancic in the quarter finals. Federer plays good tennis every day!
Jimmy Connors observed: “Federer has won this tournament three times in a row. This gives him huge confidence. He has a jacket with a logo with three rackets for the Wimbledon wins. "
In the end, Federer won his fourth Wimbledon by beating Nadal. Amelie Mauresmo won her first Wimbledon by defeating Justine Henine - Hardenne.
Neither Amelie nor Justine played their best tennis but as McEnroe observed:
"The biggest champions are those who win when they are not playing their best. They fight their way through their nerves and just get the job done. "
What success tips can we learn from the above?
Be willing to take calculated risks like approaching the net.
Yelling is not enough although it can help. Action is usually more important.
Get over perceived injustices quickly or use your anger to give you energy.
Make the most of your strong points.
True success is showing kindness all the days of your life.
You need passion or fire in your belly to achieve your goals.
Belief or confidence are as crucial to success as effective skills.
Prayer, or some other link to universal power, can work.
Play better. ! Do better!
Try to win this year and not next year.
Learn from your mistakes but don't dwell on them.
Get the job done even if you are not at your best.
About the author
John Watson is an award winning teacher and 5th degree blackbelt martial arts instructor. He has written several ebooks on motivation and success topics. One of these can be found at http://www.motivationtoday.com/36_laws.php
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