Nov. 13, 2020

Be Yourself

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Be yourself on the court. Be natural. Don't try to be something you are not. Experience shows it won't work. Learn to let go and be yourself.

Coach:Chris Haggard, former world no.19 doubles. Won 7 ATP titles.
Bio:Turned pro in 1993. Spent 15 years on the ATP Tour. Excelled at doubles to reach career-high #19 ranking. Stayed in Top 50 for over a decade. Won 7 ATP titles. Reached SF Australian Open and QF of both US Open and Wimbledon. Career wins over Bryan Brothers, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Leander Paes, Pat Rafter, Leyton Hewitt, and Marat Safin.

Birthplace: South Africa

Length: 3 min 41 sec
Theme: Emotion


So, I get asked a lot about about how to be emotionally on the court.

And, you know, what kind of person should I be on the tennis court? And my answer to that is really, be the person you are off the court, on the court, you know, if you've got a fiery personality, use that on the court. Don't try and be someone else.

But (but) the key is to really do it in a positive way. Where, if you have a little outburst, that's fine, but you know, you got to recover. And the recovery is what makes the difference in tennis, (be)cause you have 30 seconds to recover emotionally, physically, mentally, and you know, if you can push that reset button, then I don't care what you do in between that to relax you to be (be) yourself, you know, and be the poster person you are, don't try and fake it out there.

You know, I was 'me' playing, I was a kind of a calm guy. And, when I play, they thought I was calm, like, how do you do that? I can, like, well, I'm like that off the court, and it just feels natural. So, you know, my advice is, is be natural, be the person you are, but make sure that you can recover. So, if it's a negative outburst, you know, you got 30 seconds, and then you got to be ready to go. Because, you know, in tennis, as we know, you know, you lose a point. That doesn't make or break you, it's the last point that counts.

I was (I was) playing in the second round of Wimbledon doubles with a good friend of mine, Ashley Fisher. And, Ashley has a very different personality to me, he's very, he gets very fired up, you know, he needs (he needs) a lot of (a lot of) attention. You know, if you're playing doubles, he wants to feel that energy. I'm more of a laid back kind of player, I have the energy but in my own way. So, we had two levels of the spectrum, me and him but but somehow that made it work. But we were playing on Court No. 1, which is, you know, unfortunately, I didn't get to play center court Wimbledon, but I got to play Court No. 1 a few times. And, this is my first time and it was (it was) amazing. And, the whole atmosphere and the acoustics and the sound. It was magical. And, (And) what happened is we were playing Max Miryni and Jonas Bjorkman. And, the start of the match, I was he was trying to fire me up he's like, this is it, you know, we were going to do this and I got out of (I got out) of sync. You know, I really I wasn't myself out there. And, I was I just couldn't hit a ball. And, the more I missed, the harder I tried and (and) we were down 6-0, 3-0. And, and I'll never forget, I had my family watching and I was just starting to be embarrassing. And, and Ashley just made a joke. He's like, hey, well, I mean, you know if let's (let's) just win one game. And I said to me, I let's just win a game and I literally, you know, I all that expectations and everything, I just let it go, you know, I was able to let go in there moment. And, we won a game and we ended up winning the set. And, it was it went to two sets all and at 4 all in the fifth set, we got suspended (be)cause of darkness.

And, you know, we ended up we had to come back two days later and we did lose that match. But (But) I know that (that) I overcame my (my) difficulties. You know, I overcame that emotion of trying too hard of being on Court No. 1. And, I think the (the) key is, is that I was able to let go and I think if you're playing doubles and (and) you're struggling you know there needs to be a moment where you can just let go of everything. And I really think you know, that can get you back on track to playing good tennis.

Whatever personality you have. That's what's going to come out on the tennis court.