Tennis Mentality

jga111

Hall of Fame
I find the mental aspect of singles tennis fascinating. It is, afterall, the foundation of how well we perform in a match. I also often find the mentality in a match can change drastically with high volatility depending on the circumstances. Please find below a matrix of my attempt to classify the mentality in tennis. This can be regarded within the context of a match, or a point, I like to think they are applicable in both situations.


In order of confidence:

1) Super confident and expectant of victory
2) Confident and hopeful of victory.
3) Confident but cautious.
4) Confident but nervous with caution.
5) Confident and relaxed, no expectation.
6) Not confident but relaxed.
7) Not confident and nervous.
8) Not confident, not nervous but expectant of loss.
9) Not confident, and nervous despite expectant of loss.

Personally:

I have never been a 1). Mainly because, if I play someone I'm much better than, I would get nervous in not scoring. The best I have achieved, mentally from a game perspective is 2).
And generally, I play very tight in the first set. If I play someone who is really good, I will start the match off as 7). And I really have to fight my corner to become looser and more confident. Like on Saturday, I lost the first set 6-1. My mentality change from 7) to 8). I wasn't confident of winning so I started to expect the loss. Consequently I was then relaxed. I started to play more loosely and with better rhythm and consistency, fewer double faults. I won the second set 6-1! After, my mentality changed again..to a 3). I was confident, had something to fight for, and could even win - but I still didn't really think much about the end result, I was taking it point by point and took a more cautious approach. 3rd set finished 5-4 on serve (we ran out of time).


Even between 1st and 2nd serves, mentality can change due to the pressure we play under. How often have you players played a 1st serve with a 5) for example (confident you'll smash the serve in, you're relaxed but don't really expect the serve to be an ace or a winner on its own). You miss the first serve. Then it's a second serve, with you 0-30 down. All of a sudden you're hitting your second serve with a 7). Crazy isn't it? How the mentality changes even within points.

Where do you think the pros fit?

Federer was probably playing with 1) during his peak years. As was Nadal. As was Djokovic. I wonder what their mentalities were like when they faced-off to each other.

And I wonder what they are now?

If we have Djoko vs Murray, at the start of the match would Djoko really be a 1)? Or even a 2)? One thing we can say about these players, I don't think they ever get a 7) or lower.

Unlike Nadal who must these days start matches more with a 2) - but with greater volatility. Taking 2nd serves with 7) for example. Yes, the mentality has changed that much for some of these players.

What do you guys think? Where do you all fall under this? I think it's pretty interesting actually - for the purposes of introspection, but also I find it interesting how the pros match-up mentally, at the start of their matches, during points, etc...
 

newpball

Legend
Where do you think the pros fit?
They don't fit you matrix.

They focus on every individual point and try to win it unless there are exceptions (e.g. saving energy for a deciding set in tough weather conditions, change playing style due to opponent (temporarily) handicapped or injured, change playing style when opponent is falling in the mental trap etc).

:D
 

jga111

Hall of Fame
They don't fit you matrix.

They focus on every individual point and try to win it unless there are exceptions (e.g. saving energy for a deciding set in tough weather conditions, change playing style due to opponent (temporarily) handicapped or injured, change playing style when opponent is falling in the mental trap etc).

:D
So you do not think the pros play with a mentality? They are not human? Just things...from like mars or somewhere?
 

newpball

Legend
So you do not think the pros play with a mentality? They are not human? Just things...from like mars or somewhere?
They are all spatial!



If you play a match and are constantly thinking about the match like you seem to do you WILL lose focus, you need to focus on playing points if you want to win!

:D
 
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