With the 2019 Australian Open finishing last night, there were contrasting performance in both the women’s and men’s finals. When you coach you want to see your athlete have the right positive attitude, especially as you know the work they have put in to reach the pinnacle of their particular sport.
As we all witnessed last night, talent and hard work will only take you so far, if your head isn’t in it then you won’t win at the elite level. Now Nadal is no first timer to a Grand Slam Final, as he has 17 Grand Slam Titles. However, he never looked like he wanted to be their last night, as his performance was well below his best and the way he had played for the 2 weeks.
In his post match acceptance speech, Nadal actually confirmed that he was having some personal issues and that indeed his head wasn’t in. This was evident from the very first game and eventually going down 0-3 games to Djokovic in the first set. Being off his game to a player who has won 6 Australian Opens is a place that you don’t get over. Djokovic could sense the blood in the water and didn’t stop the onslaught until he won his record seventh Australian Open.
In the womens final both players had moments when they were positive and negative. In the Women’s Final Osaka had 3 Championship points, which she lost them all and it went into a third set. If you look at it at a basic level, she only had to win one point out of three. If you told her that at the start of the game, she would back herself to only have to win 33% of her chance to win the 2019 Australian Grand Slam Title. After that she lost the plot, screaming, hitting her racquet into the court, walking with her head down and was looking like throwing the match. However, to her credit she found her positive attitude in time, to come back and win the 2019 Australian Open.
I am not a fan of the huge congratulations players make of themselves when they win a point. If it is the set or a tough game yes, and of course the match. Now I get they are trying to fire themselves up, but I feel they are using too much energy and also losing focus on what they are there to achieve.
Attitude is everything when it comes to sport, as there can only be one winner. This whole notion of trying your best and winning doesn’t matter, which is what our kids are being taught these days. I really don’t understand this mediocre approach of so many people. Ask Kvitova or Nadal, are they happy putting in days, months and years of training, 2 weeks of competition to get to their dream game, only to lose.
The takeaway of these matches are if your head isn’t in for a moment, your opposition will take you down and swiftly at this level. It is all relative and the principles apply over all sports and even life. It is very hard to be successful at anything if you don’t have the right positive attitude. Everyone is going to have a bad or negative things happen at some stage, but it is the time it takes you to turn that into a positive. Keep your head up and look positive, it will do as much for you as it will to distract your opposition and make them doubt themselves, because they don’t know why you won’t lay down and just lose.