Summer is well and truly here, the French Open has wrapped up and Wimbledon is just beginning. This week, tennis fans around the world will be tuning in to watch the leading men and women of tennis compete for one of most coveted titles in the sport. Who has what it takes to win the grand slam event this year?
Let’s consider the men’s top three:
- Novak Djokovic, current world number one, the defending champion, has won three out of five of the last Wimbledon finals.
- Roger Federer, a crowd favourite, has reached three out of five of the last Wimbledon finals, winning most recently in 2017.
- Raphael Nadal has just won a record 12 French Open titles. However, the last time he won at Wimbledon was in 2010.
On the women’s side:
- Ashleigh Barty, current world number one, won the French Open final comfortably, has never played in a Wimbledon final.
- Naomi Osaka, current holder of the US and Australian Open titles. Has never played in a Wimbledon final.
- Angelique Kerber is the defending champion, beating Serena Williams in the 2018 women’s singles final. Kerber is currently ranked number 5 in the world.
Growth Mindset is Mind Over Matter
Undoubtedly, the players’ physical form and training will play a major part in their performance and success at the tournament. They will have worked hard throughout the year in preparation, honing their diet, sleep, gym workouts and on-court practice.
Mindset and mental strength, however, could be what sets apart the champions from the rest. Top players tend to possess a growth mindset, demonstrating the drive to keep on learning and improving whether they win or lose. For example, after Djokovic had just won the Australian Open this year, he was already focusing on what he could improve. “I do want to definitely focus myself on continuing to improve my game… so I would be able to compete at a high level for years to come”.
Resilience is Key
They also demonstrate the ability to overcome setbacks and adversity. In the same post-match interview, Djokovic talked about his journey coming back from elbow surgery to winning three grand slam events. “I wasn’t playing well, I wasn’t feeling good on the court, I was questioning everything, I was doubting whether I would be able to play ever on this level [again]… It was a huge learning curve for me… I embraced the journey and am very grateful to go through it.” Even setbacks are seen as opportunities to learn, grow and improve.
Sometimes the difference between winning and losing a match is resilience in the moment – dealing with the weight of expectation, winning critical points and coming back from behind. When Osaka beat the much more experienced Serena Williams in the US Open final last year, she said: “I felt like I shouldn’t let myself be overcome by nerves or anything, and I should just really focus on playing tennis because that’s what’s gotten me to this point.” It is mindset that enables top players to chase each and every point with tenacity and remained focused at critical moments.
When watching Wimbledon this year and predicting who will be the next champion, consider not only the power of the player’s serve, the beauty of their forehand or backhand, but also observe their mindset and mental strength and how this gives them the critical advantage.
Who do you think will win the title?
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