It’s Novak Djokovic talking to courtside interviewer Jim Courier, straight after his outstanding Australian Open semi-final win over Roger Federer. Courier is discussing Novak’s current frame of mind.
He asks if his quarter-final five set struggle against the awkward Gilles Simon left him with any lingering self-doubts. Novak is very clear. ‘Your convictions have to be stronger than your doubts’ is his response.
To be a multiple Grand Slam winner and champion your mind cannot be riddled with doubts. That doesn’t mean that you dont experience them. But its in how you process those doubts that allows a champion to continue to think, behave and act like a champion.
The best players have special places they can come out from and return to in themselves. A Sanctuary of Success where all their big moments are lodged.
If a player doesnt have such a Sanctuary, or doesnt know how to access it, then doubts can linger and create a kind of fog. Unresolved doubts block the pathway and access to the Sanctuary, leaving the player confused and uncertain. The longer it takes you to resolve doubts, the more your confidence can diminish.
A top player like Novak Djokovic doesn’t let doubts linger or fester. They can quickly put into perspective an under-performance and move on. It’s as important a part of their process as practising their forehands or backhand volleys.
This perspective comes from always holding a higher view about their game. One under-performance doesnt mean they are off track, or a bad player. It is seen in the context of their overall form. This higher perspective comes from knowing the cycles and patterns that lead to tournament wins. They understand themselves, Understand their game. Understand the paths to success.
A lesser player may not be as adept at resolving the doubts. Partly because they don’t have the success or rewards that confirm their talent, strengths and qualities. Thus their sanctuary is either unpopulated or inaccessible through under-use. Having a value for the things you have done well in your career, can give you a useful anchor point in times of uncertainty.
Champions are champions not always because they have the best technical skills. But often because they know how to access the Sanctuary of Success, when under pressure or in adversity. As Novak Djokovic demonstrates time and again!