How to Stay at the Top in Tennis—According to Swiatek

Tennis Pro

How to Stay on Top with a High Rank

Elite tennis players work their butts off to climb to the top or break into the Top-10. 

However, many players drop out of the top rankings after a short time. Often, what helps you to get to the top may not be enough to keep you there. 

Think about when you were a young player. You did everything possible to achieve a high ranking. 

You attended tennis clinics, focused on developing a solid serve, worked on your footwork, and pushed yourself to condition your body and mind. 

However, if you stopped working, you would stop improving and regress. 

Some tennis players quickly fall out of a top ranking because they are “satisfied.” Players who become satisfied or comfortable fall into the “just happy to be here” trap. 

They falsely believe that their current work ethic will keep them at the top, so they neglect to work on the little aspects of their game. In other words, they lose their edge.  

Conversely, if you continue to work hard, find areas of your game that need improvement and go all in on developing your mental game, you will continue to grow as an athlete.  

Take, for example, Iga Swiatek. What does the 2022 WTA Player of the Year do when the season is finished? 

Swiatek works on her game by playing in the World Tennis League. 

SWIATEK: “There’s always something to improve. I’m 21, so I think I can actually do many things, but on volleys, especially, we’ve been working on my volley game…I can focus on other things in matches, change something up with my tactics, or just implement what I’ve been working on in the off-season. The score isn’t the most important thing here.”  

Even though Swiatek’s off-season is shorter, it keeps her in playing shape and improves her mental and physical skill sets. 

You can always do something to improve your game.

Even if you feel burned out, you can take time off your physical training and develop your mental game.

Not only will you improve your competitive mindset, but you can also learn many skills to gain a mental edge, such as: 

  • Confidence Building  
  • Emotional Management 
  • Goal Setting
  • Dealing with Pressure 
  • Positive self-talk 
  • Relaxation

The key to staying on top or taking your game further is to stay in shape physically, technically, and mentally. If you commit to improving while you are on top, you maintain the positive momentum and steady growth.

No matter where you are in the rankings or where you are in the season, think about how to grow your mental, physical, and technical skills. 

Being satisfied with your ranking will cause complacency and a steady decline in performance.

To maintain your focus on improvement, create a personal motto. Think of your motto as a tagline reminding you to grow into your potential, such as: “Go forward,” “Go farther,” or “Climb higher.”

Post your motto in visible places (bathroom mirror, sports equipment, bedroom door, etc.) as a cue that you have more to accomplish in your tennis career.

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