Dealing With Fatigue in Tough Tennis Matches

Strategies to Push Through Fatigue in Matches

Strategies to Push Through Fatigue in Matches

Drained… Exhausted… Beat… Worn out… Gassed… Extremely tired…

Do any of these words describe a match you recently played?

How did you handle playing with fatigue?

Were you able to dig deep and find a way to keep competing for every point or did you succumb to the tired feelings and slowly watch your game slip away?

There is no doubt that tight matches, long matches, several matches with minimal rest or grueling matches can be quite exhausting.

Feeling exhausted is as much mental as it is physical.

When playing in long, competitive matches, your inner voice can be your toughest opponent, “I’m too tired. My arms are heavy. My heart feels like it is going to jump out of my chest. I just want this to be over.”

These negative reminders add to that sense of fatigue you feel.

That negative chatter becomes quite convincing to the point where the only thing you can focus on is the fatigue you are experiencing.

When you are fatigued, the answer is not trying to convince yourself that you are not fatigued…

The key is to convince yourself that you can play at a high level despite being tired.

When it comes to grueling matches and fatigue, there are several realities:

  1. Both players are experiencing similar circumstances. Each player will be experiencing some degree of fatigue.
  2. You can still play well tired. You may not have your “A” game but you can always give “A” game effort.
  3. Someone is going to win and that winner will be the one who focuses on competing rather than fatiguing.

Even though you just want to hit the shower and head home, wouldn’t it be more rewarding to hit the shower as the victor than the one who crumbled?

Tennis player Kiki Bertens refused to allow fatigue to detract from her game at the 2018 Western & Southern Open.

Bertens overcame fatigue and top-ranked opponent Simona Halep 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 to win her first career title.

Bertens was one point away from losing during the second set but she rallied to win the tiebreak and pull off the biggest win in her career.

While talking to her coach Raemon Sluiter, Bertens caught herself thinking about the fatigue she was feeling, then refocused her attention on competing.

BERTENS: “I think it was such a tough match, and after winning that second set I knew anything is still possible. Just keep on going. And then I had a chat with Raemon at 2-1 and I was, like, I’m dead. He’s, like, looking at me. Then I said to myself, No, I can do this. Let’s go for it.”

In her post-match interview, Bertens revealed how she was able to get past the fatigue factor and regain her focus with the help of her coach.

BERTENS: “Raemon also just said, That’s why you put all that hard work in. I was, like, Yeah, I know this feeling. I had this feeling before in the practices. So I know that I can keep on going. It’s for a title, so of course you can always give a little extra and just go for it. And that’s what I did.”

Pushing past the exhaustion and keeping her mind focused on the goal of winning rather that of just being “done” was the key in helping Bertens pull out an amazing victory.

Pushing Through Fatigue:

Challenge yourself in your training sessions. Make those sessions have a purpose. Train harder than you compete. Be ready to stay in long point and long games.

When you’ve battled through fatigue in practice, you’ll be ready to battle hard in those same conditions during matches.

When you think you can’t go another point or game, remind yourself of Mahut and Isner match in the 2010 Wimbledon with a final set of 68-70!

For more strategies on building mental toughness in tennis, check out our audio and workbook program, “Tennis Confidence”:

*Subscribe to The Tennis Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Tennis Psychology Podcast on Spotify

Improve Your Mental Game for Tennis

Tennis Confidence 2.0

Tennis Confidence CD

Tennis Confidence: Mental Game Strategies for Tournament Players” is Dr. Cohn’s program to help tennis players, coaches, and instructors improve the mental game of tennis is just 8 easy to learn sessions. Tennis Confidence: Mental Game Strategies for Tournament Players Audio and Workbook program is ideal for any junior, collegiate, and tour professional player. Tennis coaches and instructors would also be wise to teach the strategies in “Tennis Confidence 2.0.”

Tennis Confidence is a complete mental training program developed Dr. Cohn. You learn the same strategies Dr. Cohn teaches his personal students to help them improve mental toughness and consistency – from managing unrealistic expectations to coping with perfectionism. 

Read more about Tennis Confidence Program>>

Leave a Comment