Tennis Psychology: Angelique Kerber – The Steffi Graff Effect!

So Angelique Kerber secures her first Grand Slam title.  Holding her nerve to win the third set. when she might have been expected to buckle under Serena’s big-game pressure. It turns out that Kerber received a textual message from her idol Steffi Graff on the morning of the match. Can a textual message win a player a Grand Slam? Not by itself. But it can carry influence. We don’t know what the German legend texted, but it was probably a droplet of champions wisdom accrued from securing twenty-two Grand Slams. Because of Angelique’s idolatry for Steffi, it’s equal to receiving […]

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Tennis Psychology – Novak Djokovic: The Sanctuary Of Success

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 […]

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Tennis Psychology: Johanna Konta – The Ball…The Net…The Lines!

‘I’m hitting a yellow ball across the net into some lines’. It’s Johanna Konta speaking after her Australian Open quarter final victory over the qualifier Shuai Zyang.  She is explaining to the press her perspective about the game. It’s rare to hear a professional player speak with an almost childlike simplicity about what they do. And yet it’s this simplicity and clarity that is key to Konta’s emergence and success. It’s as if the reason why she plays the game has not become corrupted by the demand for results and outcomes. Of course it helps that Johanna is winning. This […]

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Tennis Psychology: Nick Kyrgios – Maturity!

After the on-court dramas at Wimbledon, tennis observers weren’t expecting the talented Nick Kyrgios to be back in the news so quickly. So it’s a surprise to some, that the Australian is back courting the headlines again. His on-court sledge to Stan Wawrinka appears to have shocked the tennis world. And if it was anyone else but Kyrgios, then it’s unlikely to have created such a storm. In a lot of sports, an insulting sledge is part and parcel of the mental games. Employed strategically to gain edge and throw your opponent off balance. So unto itself, it’s of no […]

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Tennis Psychology: Rafa Nadal – The Champions Pain!

To see a great sportsman at the peak of his or her powers, is one of the reasons why top level sport can be so compelling. By the same token, it can be painful to witness a sporting great searching for one of their superpowers. And so it was with Rafael Nadal at the All England club yesterday. Rafa’s opponent, Dustin Brown, whilst talented, had only won four times previously at Wimbledon. But short of the vital champions currency of confidence and self-belief, Rafa was pushed aside by Brown playing the match of his career. Nadal didn’t fall short through […]

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Tennis Psychology: Andy Murray – Motivation!

It’s the Rotterdam Open and Andy Murray is playing Gilles Simon in the quarter finals. To maintain a mental focus, Murray reads from handwritten notes between games. Those notes were photographed by a Dutch sports journalist and published online. They make surprising reading. The notes are the sort of instructions you might remind a sixteen year old player to remember. For example the seond notation is ‘Try Your Best’. This is strange. Andy Murray always tries his best. It’s one of his most consistent qualities. Why does he need to remind himself of this? Notation three is ‘Be intense with […]

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Tennis Psychology: Andy Murray – The Meltdown!

Andy Murray’s pre Ivan Lendl career was blighted by moments of the Scotsman loudly berating himself. On court. Under pressure. For all to see. Especially in the big matches. The canny Lendl seemed to help Murray overcome this trait. No more beating himself up on court. No more letting his opponent know how he was feeling. Simply, putting the mistake behind him and staying right in the moment in a state of lucid concentration. A stronger mentality outweighing a highly charged emotion. So yesterdays meltdown to Novak Djokovic, came right out of the blue. Right out of Andy Murrays back […]

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Tennis Psychology: Andy Murray – Hunger!

So Andy Murray breaks one of the toughest stop situations in sport, and becomes the first British player to win the Gentleman’s Singles at The All England Club in seventy-seven years. In the ensuing day or two since Murray’s triumph, it’s seems that everyone wants a piece of him. His management company will be able to secure him deals that will set him up financially for years to come. The next twelve months could be a chaotic time for the tennis player. If he is needy for endorsements, TV appearances and other celebrity based opportunities, then they await him. But […]

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Tennis Psychology: Sabine Lisicky – Overwhelm!

It’s early in the second set of Sabine Lisicky’s Wimbledon singles final with Marion Bartoli. And the German girl is almost in tears. Her game is falling apart before our eyes. Her ball toss is all over the place. She is constantly choosing the wrong shot options. All her hopes, dreams and possibilities are crumbling in front of her. And there is nothing she can do about it. It is only when the match is virtually over, that with nothing to lose, Sabine starts to loosen up and play her natural game. But by then it’s far too late. So […]

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Tennis Psychology: Laura Robson – Unbelievable!

So Laura Robson’s Wimbledons adventure is over. Whilst the nineteen year old can be happy with progress made, she may also reflect on a missed opportunity to make further progress at The All England Club. Her comments after her defeat were revealing. “I think I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and at the end of the first set I had my chances. At that point I was willing myself to play unbelievable tennis when just serving would have been fine”. Laura’s self assessment is a perceptive one. She felt, simply because it was Wimbledon, that she had […]

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