Oct. 12, 2020

Achieving Success

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What does it take to be a successful tennis player? Get some tips that you can take into your next game.

Coach:Cliff Drysdale, the voice of ESPN for 30 years.
Bio: Cliff Drysdale has been ESPN’s voice of tennis for more than 30 years. President of the ATP from 1972-1974. Pioneer of the two-handed backhand, a stroke was rarely seen until he brought it to fruition in the 1960s. Ranked in the world Top 10 between 1965 and 1971, and rose to No. 4 in 1965. Played 49 Davis Cup matches for his native South Africa from 1962 to 1974, leading his country to the 1974 championship.

Birthplace:South Africa
Residency: USA

Length: 1 min 42 sec

Other tracks by Cliff Drysdale: Stop Making Excuses, Key Moments, When Things Get Tough.


To be a successful tennis player takes so many different attributes.

Number one. You have to be able to get to the ball. So, you've got to be athletic to a certain extent. If not, you got to try to improve your speed quotient.

Number two. You got to have the right strokes, the right stroke for you to not necessarily the right stroke for everybody.

And number three, and just as important as the first two, is mental strength. One of the things that I used to do as a player when I was feeling the pressure, was thinking about the guy that I used to play - one of my best friends I used to play with a lot - I was just a little better than him. So, any of the tight points and just knew somehow that I was going to be able to win.

So, here's my suggestion. Pretend like you're playing against somebody, good friend or not, but that you can usually beat and then say, the next point that I'm playing is against that person. That used to help me a lot.

Secondly, in terms of mental strength, remember what Billie Jean King said, which was, 'pressure is a privilege'. So, when you get to the pressure situations, show your mental strength by enjoying the moment, enjoying the pressure, and by enjoying it, you will find that you get the best out of your game.