Grinding Out a Comeback in Matches
Jelena Dokic returned to the professional circuit with a bold statement. Even though Dokic’s ranking slipped to 187 and she hasn’t played the main draw of a Grand Slam since 2006, Dokic showed no signs of mental weakness.
Dokic grinded out three tough wins to mark her unbelievable comeback. Recently, Dokic beat Alisa Kleybanova in a marathon match, 7-5, 5-7, 8-6, at the Australian Open. According to Dokic, she relied on her mental game to turn the match around.
Don’t think the mental game of tennis is important?
Here’s what Dokic had to say after grinding out a comeback:
“Actually, mentally I’ve been doing well every match, I’ve been unbelievable. Probably stronger and stronger considering, like I said today, I didn’t play my best and didn’t feel great really, but kept on going with my head. So that’s what pulled me through today.”
A sign of a good player his when they can pull out a win even when not playing her best. Most players fold or don’t have the mental toughness to stay confident. Dokic understands that a strong mental game can help her survive a tough match.
Part of mental toughness for tennis is when you can control your emotions such as frustration or anger.
“Like I said, physically it’s normal to be tired, which is what I’m feeling. Other than that, all my emotions on court, I’m really controlling them well. I’m really tough mentally, so that’s also a surprise to me after such a long time not playing a lot of tournaments and matches that I’m able to keep it up. I’m just really fighting. I’m really determined and fighting. That’s sometimes what keeps it going.”
Part of a strong mental game includes keeping your negative emotions in check. Players who become upset or frustrated on the court often can expend a lot of energy. You use more energy reacting to bad shots rather than actually playing. It’s best to take a moment to manage your energy before moving on to the next point.
Here’s your tennis psychology tip for today
You’re never out of the match until you think you are out of the match. A strong mental game can help you grind out tough matches and take your performance to a higher level.
Are you (or your players) performing up to your ability in competition?
Do you bring your best and most confident game to matches?
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