Consistency is key to tennis success. Mental consistency is critical. With the right mentality, you can grind out wins more times than not and be successful as a player.
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: 2 min 5 sec
I want to talk about consistency.
This is something that I had a good experience with, because I proved to myself in a 10-year span that I could stay in the top 15 in the world in doubles. And, if I think back to it, you know, the consistency was from the mental side, you know, I had the ability to come out and be in the moment and be in that place where, you know, even if my 'A-game' wasn't there, you know, I had a backup plan. I think that's a very important lesson that people can learn as you should always have a backup plan. If you're A game is not working.
You know, I'd come out with a game plan and a strategy and how to execute my shots. But as we all know, in tennis, you know, things happen and you're not feeling it that day, you just don't have control of the ball, you know, my backup, you know, I used to call it grinding, call it whatever you want. I'd rely on my mental side and my toughness to make balls - make a lot of balls. You know, I'm just gonna have big targets and see what happens. And, you know, I won a lot of matches like that. And, I would probably say, you know, the grinding matches was probably 70% of my matches on tour. And, winning those matches, that's very uplifting, you know, because what that shows is, you know, you didn't have your best stuff, and you could still overcome adversity.
You know, I think a lot of players can learn from that. A lot of players can learn that, you know, even if you're A-game is not there, you know, there's something else you can do. You're not helpless out there. There is a game 'B' you know, we all have it, you know, you got to use it. The grinding matches I had over that 10-year period. You know, one thing I'm very proud of is the consistency of my effort. The effort was all mental. Very few matches in my career did I feel like I (I) gave up mentally, you know, I felt like I don't want to be out here anymore. I don't want to try anymore. That's what I'm really proud of. And given that mental effort every time I stepped on the court.
You need to stay engaged and be consistent with your mental approach. When your A-game isn't working, you need to be willing to adapt and do whatever it takes to grind out a match. This stability will give you long-term success.