How Swiatek Rebounded After an Upset

How Swiatek Rebounded After an Upset

What helps an a top tennis player bounce back after being upset in a tournament?

Entering a tournament as a favorite puts a lot of pressure on players. They fear they may be viewed as “choke artists” if they lose, especially if they are defeated early in the tournament.

After all, aren’t number-one seeds always supposed to beat lower-ranked opponents?

The weight of high expectations can be overwhelming. As a top seed starts to lose points, doubts take over, and frustration builds.

The player’s thoughts become inundated with negativity: 

  • “What’s wrong with me? I’ve dominated this opponent in past matches.”
  • “Why am I hitting the ball long all the time?”
  • “Everyone expects me to win this tournament. What will they think if I lose in the opening rounds?”

When doubts and unproductive emotions intensify, players tend to unravel and make more mistakes.

Regaining your form will seem impossible if you cannot interrupt the negative cycle. The impact of this downward performance spiral affects your play not only during the current match but may also impact future matches.

Obviously, you have the talent and ability to be a top seed. You wouldn’t have a high ranking if your physical game were lacking.

The root cause of under performance is mental. An insufficient mental game is a major contributor to upsets and slumps.

There will be days when your game is off, and your opponent is having the match of their life. It happens.

However, a loss shouldn’t follow you into your next tournament. You need to find constructive feedback from losses and apply that feedback in practice.

Feedback shouldn’t just be physical, such as “My serve was off.” You should also seek mental feedback, such as “My confidence was off,” “I lost my focus at the end of the first set,” or “My emotions got the best of me.”

If you seek only technical feedback, you will do yourself a disservice in future matches.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek won the 2024 Indian Wells Open by beating ninth seed Maria Sakkari in the final 6-4 6-0.

It may seem Swiatek has been cruising through the season, winning a WTA-leading 20 matches and two titles in under four months. However, Swiatek has put in a lot of mental work after being upset in the third round of the 2024 Australian Open.

SWIATEK: “Right now, I just feel I’ve done really good work. It hasn’t been easy after Australia, and I’ve been working hard to play well and to handle everything mentally well.”

After the early season upset, Swiatek evaluated her performance on a technical and mental level.

Mental factors are the most significant causes of underperformance. Getting back on track requires improving your mental game.

After tennis matches, rate your performance on mental and physical levels.

Give yourself a score on a 1-10 scale for both your technical and mental games. 

Focus on how you will improve for the future–and avoid dwelling on the mistakes you make in the loss.

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