Federer: Mental Toughness of a Champion

Roger Federer won five consecutive Wimbledon titles in his career. You must be a mentally tough player to win five in a row! This year, Rafael Nadal put an end to Federer’s winning streak. Nadal defeated Federer in a tough five setter in the Wimbledon final.

Federer also lost his number one ranking in August of this year. For many years, Federer had dominated the tennis circuit, holding the number one ranking since 2004.

However, like most tennis champions, he did not let circumstances destroy his confidence. Mental toughness in his tennis prevailed. Recently, after winning the U.S. Open, Federer said:

“I’m always going to be confident, you know. I’m a four time defending champion. So I was always going to believe in my chances, and especially at the [Grand] Slams. I knew I was so close at Wimbledon that my chances were always going to be good here.”

Federer may have been in a performance slump, but it didn’t last long. He was able to remain on the steady wave of confidence. He didn’t let his results change how much he believes in his ability to win. He never lost confidence in his ability for another Grand Slam win. He knew good results would come his way, eventually.

Roger Federer stayed positive despite the challenges ahead:

“I was always positive, you know. I knew that if things go my way, and this year hasn’t always been the case. You know, I lost quite a few matches I should have never lost, and they hurt. Now, getting the fifth US Open, it really means a lot to me. I really thank the fans, as well, the crowds. They were great.”

Tennis psychology and the mental game is key to success for many…. In addition to keeping a healthy level of confidence, he didn’t feel pressure about winning the U.S. Open:

“I was always positive, like I mentioned before, and for this reason, I think this is a great effort from my side, you know, to people saying I was under pressure. I didn’t feel I was under pressure to prove myself in trying to win here, but this definitely feels very sweet, and I think it’s key for this season, obviously.”

Pressure can have a negative effect on athletes. Athletes can tighten up, think too much about the consequences of losing the match and underperform in competition. Roger Federer was unaffected by pressure. His mental focus and energy was directed towards what he needed to do to win tennis matches.

Federer experience and knowing how to handle Grand Slam matches was key to his U.S. Open win:

“You know, I know what it takes to win here. I know that usually I do play my best on the big occasions, especially here in New York. I’ve had some incredible matches for my standard, and I knew that it was always going to be difficult for Andy [Murray], but this was the reason why I really wanted to get off a good start in the match, you know, and be able to control him, you know, especially winning the first set I think was key.”

Roger Federer continued to stay mentally tough under adversity. Roger Federer knows what it takes to win a big match. The U.S. Open final is no different than any other event. He’s been in this situation before. He knew what to expect. His ability to remain confident, embrace pressure as his friend, and draw on his past experience helped him to win his fifth U.S. Open title.