Beyond The Score: We Can Learn A Lot From Watching Big Wimbledon Matches

By Lisa Thomas

As players we can learn a lot from the last few days of Wimbledon.  The men’s quarter and semifinals were in large part an exercise in perseverance and belief.  How else do you explain Federer’s comeback after two sets down against Cilic, Murray’s see-saw, five-set win against Tsonga and Raonic’s defeat of the great Federer in the semifinals?

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We’ve watched before as players are out-classed and out-played by the greats and don’t seem to hold it together during the big moments.  But what we have seen on the big grass-court stage this year is a new level of never-give-up focus that can win games and big matches.

Raonic said the advice he received from his new grass-court season coach, John McEnroe, was to leave it all out there. He mentioned his positive energy and belief that he could pull it off.

Even when down against the man who is 10 and 0 in Wimbledon semifinals Milos kept coming at him.  McEnroe was quoted in BBC Sport saying Raonic showed a lot of heart, a lot of fight.

Raonic and Mac

Murray’s quarterfinal victory gave him his 100th career grass court win.  But it didn’t come easy.  He admitted to a very tough match which required some serious focus and belief.  The roller coaster score of 7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1 speaks to the tenacity of both players and the pure grit shown by Murray.

This is a great reminder for those of us who compete in any sport or help our kids to compete in their athletic endeavors.  I see it in myself, the lack of confidence and belief when I am down in my league match.  I see the body language change and the talk shift to a negative gear in my daughter when she is on the losing side of a beach volleyball match. What we need to remember is rather basic:

  • Stay positive
  • Don’t give up
  • Show some heart
  • Believe in yourself and your practice

All things we have heard so many times from coaches and experts but find hard to implement in the very moments when it counts the most.

My prescription for me and my daughters is to analyze the matches we have recorded, and watch them again. Any of these matches could have or even should have gone the other way but within each match was a player so determined to win that he focused on one point at a time and stayed with a game plan to win.

If nothing more the last few days of Wimbledon have been playbooks on what we need to do in sport and perhaps even in other parts of our life.  Leave it all out there, do your best and who knows, anything is possible.

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