Are you passionate about tennis? Do you miss tennis legend Roger Federer? We decided what better way to honour the all time favourite champion than by sharing our top ten important lessons to learn from Roger Federer.
Tennis Maestro Roger Federer – 10 important lessons to learn
Lesson 1 – Less is More
There is a tennis tournament somewhere almost every week, and the off-season is short. The temptation to play on every possible occasion is huge. However, Roger quickly stood out as a rigorous planner. He divided his year into blocks for tournaments, training and holidays. This dedication to his plans enabled him to have a durability above and beyond most tennis professionals. In 2016 following his knee injury he was so disciplined, he took off the necessary amount of time to ensure a full recovery in time for the next season to win the Australian Open.
Lesson 2 – Never Stop Learning
Tennis is cyclical. Every great athlete in his or her sport dominates for a period before they are supplanted by someone younger who knows how to respond to it. Federer would have been side-lined by Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, some four and six years respectively his junior. However, he didn’t stop learning and adjusted his style to compete with theirs. It takes a lot to constantly question yourself and be open to new developments when you are already successful. Federer was able to compete at the highest level through these generational changes.
Lesson 3 – Look Forward, not Back
Nobody enjoys defeat, it’s unavoidable and can happen even when you are at the top of your game. The key question to be answered is how you deal with losing. Federer was one of the fastest to bounce back from a loss. He studied what he could learn from it then quickly looked ahead. He never dwelt on a loss be it point, set or match. Wimbledon 2008 was his toughest loss from which to recover, which took him days to accept before he was able to re-focus on what lay ahead for him. He remembers the victories not the defeats.
Lesson 4 – Love your Job
It can’t be said that Roger didn’t enjoy an amazing career travelling the world as a celebrated tennis star. However, the grind and repetition required to enjoy that level can so easily be monotonous and it’s necessary to remain extremely disciplined to achieve that level of greatness. Roger did maintain this dedication to his love of tennis. He remained curious, often trying new things on and off court. He invented the half-volley return SABR – “Sneak Attack by Roger”.
Lesson 5 – Don’t Take any Shortcuts
Genius is 1% Inspiration and 99% Perspiration – Thomas Edison – inventor of the light bulb
Roger was only able to become so good by being prepared to work extremely hard, again and again. Those players who joined him in training confirmed his level of discipline. Federer’s excellent condition was the foundation of his tennis skill. You can’t play winners if you can’t reach the ball!. There are no shortcuts to success. This is one of the most important lessons to learn from Roger Federer.
Lesson 6 – Channel your Emotions
Passion is great, especially for playing high level sport. But emotions can play tricks on you and undermine even your best performance in an instant. For young Federer this was his major challenge to surpass. He frequently got frustrated, often broke rackets, shouted out. These emotional outbursts are well documented as we saw in “How to deal with anxiety on Court”. When angry he played worse, not better. But eventually he overcame this weakness and transformed into the “Mr Cool” we all appreciated so much! Tears were his only sign of emotion after that transformation.
Lesson 7 – Believe in Yourself
Few are blessed with the kind of talent that Roger Federer had, but he too had his difficult periods to manage. Following his 2008 defeat to Nadal at Wimbledon, he won fewer and fewer Grand Slam titles and many critical voices grew louder. Many thought he had won his last major. But he never himself lost his belief in his own abilities even though it was 1666 days after Wimbledon 2012 that he celebrated a triumphant win at the 2017 Australian Open. The mortal of the story: even if everyone else doubts you, it’s only over when you start to believe them!
Lesson 8 – Embrace the Moment
Sport is a wonderful opportunity to live the kind of mindfulness that embraces life nowadays. You can give yourself to the moment, there’s no room to think about anything else. Federer was the Master, when he was standing on the court he could tune out everything else. Rather than worrying about the point lost, he learnt to play even better, because he was able to focus completely on that particular moment. As he once said, when he’s under pressure, he sees everything clearly.
Lesson 9 – Surround Yourself with Positive People
Roger loved stability and wasn’t frightened to make changes immediately. In May 2007, he separated from his Australian Coach, Tony Roche, after he felt his coach was no longer fully committed. He needed positive people who thought in terms of solutions rather than problems. When he was a teenager he hired fitness trainer, Pierre Paganini, who stayed with him all the way through his career. However, his most important supporter is his wife, Mirka, without whom he would have had a much shorter career. Her faith in his abilities was and still is unshakeable.
Lesson 10 – Age is just a Number
Federer joked just before the Australian Open 2018, at his age he could hardly be the favourite! Then he went out and won the tournament aged 36 years and 173 days old!
Age isn’t a problem, it’s just a number, he said after his victory in Melbourne. His longevity shows it’s not about your age but more importantly about how you take care of yourself and how you feel. At 36 he was playing better than at 26!
What lessons have you learnt from Roger Federer?
We can all take something from Roger’s amazing career in tennis. We were impressed with how he planned out his year and how following years of teenage frustration and outbursts on court, he was able to undergo a massive transformation into the cool and charismatic tennis ambassador we loved to watch play. But it has to be said, Roger was always one of the best dressed tennis players of his time! He respected his sport and without exception was always dressed impeccably.
Please share with us your favourite lesson or may be you have something to add? Either way, please do let us know.
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