If you don’t know by now, then you should know that I am a huge fan of world No. 1 Roger Federer and the mastery he has displayed on tennis courts all over the globe for the better part of the last decade.
However, it is not his amazing forehand, super accurate serve – or picturesque one-handed backhand that I want to focus on here. No, it’s his one-of-a-kind mind that is the focus of my attention for this column.
As a former athlete that played multiple sports, not to mention a current tennis coach and player – I have certainly witnessed more than my share of mental meltdowns from athletes participating in a variety of sports, (yes, I’ve had my share as well).
Which begs me to ask the question…How the does Roger Federer consistently ‘keep it all together’ mentally when every other athlete on the face of the planet seemingly has to work like hell just to show half of the mental fortitude that Federer routinely displays?
While I have absolutely no idea how Federer is able to completely block out the often wild atmosphere surrounding his matches – not to mention the high level play of his opponent – I will say that I have never seen another athlete (okay, maybe Larry Bird) that was able to routinely beat his opponents with his mind more so than with his talent.
I mean, really, the way Roger Federer is able to keep all of his emotions in check, while showing the same poker face in the first game of the first set as he does in the middle of a fifth-set tie-breaker, is a feat that athletes in every sport should be desperately trying to duplicate.
Even when Federer is on the receiving end of a horrific call like the one that the idiotic line judge made against Serena Williams at the U.S. Open a couple of years ago, Mr. ‘RF’ never really lets outside distractions diminish his mental focus – and it’s an absolutely wonderful thing to see.
Unfortunately, with tennis being like, the 10th most watched sport in the U.S., not many people outside of the tennis-playing community know about or have seen Federer’s unrivaled ability to block everything out around him and concentrate on the task at hand.
I don’t know whether or not coaches in every sport use Federer’s unmatched mental prowess as a training tool for their own, often wild and out-of-control athletes, but I do know they should.
Maybe I’m a bit prejudiced, but I genuinely believe that Roger Federer has the strongest mind in all of sports today.
What do you think?
Which athlete do you believe can challenge Roger Federer’s mental capacity?
Write in and let me know tennis fans and your answers will be printed in another upcoming follow-up article.