Nov. 15, 2020

People Watching You

How can people watching you affect your game? Are they for you or against you? Discover how to use a crowd's negative energy to your advantage.

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
Residency: USA

Length: 1 min 38 sec
Theme: Emotion


I want to talk a little bit about having people watch you and how that can affect your play, and how can it affect you mentally.

I can tell you a great story of playing Davis Cup for my country. It's an amazing feeling to play a home match, you know, you have your family and your friends, and you have everyone supporting you, and willing you and how you use that energy. I'll give an example when I was playing in my hometown, and, you know, I had, (I had) my grandparents there, and they'd never watched me play live tennis before and that was powerful because, you know, it was almost a sense of giving back to them when I was playing, you know, my grandfather built me a tennis court. And, (and) him watching me and me performing, it was almost a sense of giving back. The energy I felt was love. And that really propelled me to play well. I felt that energy and I used that to my advantage.

When I played away in Davis Cup, you know, had some rough, rough matches, I remember one time I was playing in Morocco, playing far away in the middle of nowhere, and there was a crowd that had probably never been to a tennis match. And they were very hostile. They were actually, you know, very abusive. And, I used that negative energy and turn it around, and I said, you know, what, if I can overcome this, and every time they (they) booed me, I turn it around, and I made it into a positive, you know, I still performed really well.

Two different experiences, you know, playing Davis Cup, you know, in front of my friends and family, which, which, which was a lot of love and support. And on the other side, I had the negative crowd that you know, pretty much 90% of the people they wanted me to lose. So, whether it's positive or negative energy, you feeling you can use to your advantage.