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Gaston Gaudio: "What is the difference between Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and others? The way they hit the ball. We all hit the ball. In the important moments, however, I do not know how they manage to handle the pressure. And it's not like the feel, they feel the same pressure and the same fear of the other, but in those moments they leave aside it and they play well."
The pressure - "When I had great pressure my vision clouded" said the Argentinian, when he talked about the final won at Roland Garros in 2004 against Guillermo Coria." When I was at a point from the match the only thing I thought was to put the ball inside. I had blurred vision and did not see anything."

Link: http://www.tennisworldusa.org/Gasto...nd-Novak-Djokovic-Dominate-articolo25144.html

We talk about special training, different strokes, rackets, shoes, coaches, diets and even doping when we can't find an answer, but we seem to forget how much comes from the head. Just look at Nadal now. Or Novak at Roland Garros. Or Federer against Djokovic in Wimby final. They too suffer from mental lapses, but much fewer times than others.
 

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~♥ Magnus Norman ♥~
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So much has to do with mental strength. So much.

It's honestly the #1 thing that turned Stan from a #15-20 player into a multi-Slam champion. (Mental strength, and Magnus Norman - who may have helped to build up the mental strength.)
 

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I think the mental strength in tennis is mostly a combination of confidence (mostly from recent results) and style. Players that play high percentage tennis often seem stronger mentally. But IMO, that's because it's easier to play defensive in an important point than to dominate the play and go for the winner. Hence, Nadal, Djokovic, Coric seem mentally stronger than Wawrinka, Cilic, Rublev and so on.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Stan is surely different animal than one he was before Magnus.
 

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I think the mental strength in tennis is mostly a combination of confidence (mostly from recent results) and style. Players that play high percentage tennis often seem stronger mentally. But IMO, that's because it's easier to play defensive in an important point than to dominate the play and go for the winner. Hence, Nadal, Djokovic, Coric seem mentally stronger than Wawrinka, Cilic, Rublev and so on.
Well you have to defend good as well as those attackers charge. Your defense is of no use if you give them slow or shallow balls, you have to be bold as a baseliner too - playing on the brinks of the line and risking an out.
It can be frustrating though when you attack much and good, and ball keeps coming back at you like you did nothing at all. :confused:
 

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I do wonder the psychology of an proactive player from a reactive one. It does seem the more reactive players are the ones who are mentally though, but I wonder if it's just natural for the flight reaction to be more solid that the fight. I mean you would think that the proactive player is the one who is putting pressure for the opponent to react but it seems the opposite now trying to break the proactive player down. Any thoughts from others?
 

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So much has to do with mental strength. So much.

It's honestly the #1 thing that turned Stan from a #15-20 player into a multi-Slam champion. (Mental strength, and Magnus Norman - who may have helped to build up the mental strength.)
I would say the #1 thing that turned him to a multi-Slam champion was his FH improvement, where in 2013 it wasn't able to put as much pressure as now -- many of his great winners in AO 2014 was from the FH side. #2 (or at least tied with #1) I agree is his mental strength, and while there are still bugs to fix (particularly still losing important points and recovering from losing a 1st Set -- Stan actually only once this year I think after losing the first and that was against Delbonis in Geneva) but overall you could see that even when things get tough he still gets close (although still needs help winning ugly). The belief of going toe-to-toe with the very best even when things look down (how he recovered from a Set down against Djokovic during his 2 wins against him on AO 2014 and RG 2015) is a testament of his improved mentality. Many players do well even though they don't have big weapons because they really want to win every point.
 

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I do wonder the psychology of an proactive player from a reactive one. It does seem the more reactive players are the ones who are mentally though, but I wonder if it's just natural for the flight reaction to be more solid that the fight. I mean you would think that the proactive player is the one who is putting pressure for the opponent to react but it seems the opposite now trying to break the proactive player down. Any thoughts from others?
It works both ways. There is obvious pressure that an offensive player puts on defensive players.
Everyone has at some time feared the Nadal or Federer FH because of how unpredictable and accurate it is.
I know many players who fear Nishikori's return, especially against the second serve and can induce DFs from the opponent trying to do too much.

Defensive players who have good stamina also break down confidence of opponents by keeping the ball in play and waiting for opportunities to strike back. Nadal is one of the best in this area. He's awfully hard to break down. I would say Ferrer similarly with a good return and consistent baseline game and speed which forces his opponents to go for more leading to slurry of errors at times.

Both types of play are tricky to handle if executed well.
 

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The depth in quality in tennis is very high - almost everyone in the top 200 or so can play well on their day really. It's just that so many are held back by their heads. The same thing can be said in all sports though.
 

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The depth in quality in tennis is very high - almost everyone in the top 200 or so can play well on their day really. It's just that so many are held back by their heads. The same thing can be said in all sports though.
And somehow that really could cost someone hundred-thousand or millions of dollars just because they are a headcase which could've helped progression -- fascinating, isn't it.
 

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The depth in quality in tennis is very high - almost everyone in the top 200 or so can play well on their day really. It's just that so many are held back by their heads. The same thing can be said in all sports though.
Why is it something remarkable that someone who's in the top 200 best players in the entire world can play well on their day? And that's not even true when we're talking about the highest level. That's why we see the same old faces at the semi-final stage of tournaments over and over. And in 250 events where top players aren't present, we see utter calamities continuously.
 

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Mental strength..

What a load of rubbish, seriously, it's so overrated in sport

Some players games just never change, that's all it comes down to, someone like Nadal always gets the plaudits but all he's doing on pressure points is doing what he always does - keeping the ball in play and not missing

The Best players can do that and the also-rans can't, that is the difference.
 

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Once you have the mental strength, the will to win is the next thing. Without it you may aswell not bother.
 

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I do wonder the psychology of an proactive player from a reactive one. It does seem the more reactive players are the ones who are mentally though, but I wonder if it's just natural for the flight reaction to be more solid that the fight. I mean you would think that the proactive player is the one who is putting pressure for the opponent to react but it seems the opposite now trying to break the proactive player down. Any thoughts from others?
yeah when surfaces are slow this happens. The attacking game is low percentage, as he reach closer and closer to the net he gets passed. The court length is extended due to today's spin on the ball. The net is practically useless obstacle.
 

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Meh. Gaudio fluked the shit out of tennis history. In his entire career he only made it once past the 4th round of a slam. No wonder he completed lost it (yet still won, props).

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic however combine for 63 slam finals. Not saying this is part of their daily routine, but you simply get used to it, you learn to control the pressure, the adrenaline.

Ever given a presentation in front of 500 people? The first time you shit your pants. The fifth time you're a pro at it.
 

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Meh. Gaudio fluked the shit out of tennis history. In his entire career he only made it once past the 4th round of a slam. No wonder he completed lost it (yet still won, props).

Federer, Nadal and Djokovic however combine for 63 slam finals. Not saying this is part of their daily routine, but you simply get used to it, you learn to control the pressure, the adrenaline.

Ever given a presentation in front of 500 people? The first time you shit your pants. The fifth time you're a pro at it.
 

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Great article, Gaudio said some good things there

I hope he comes back and coaches somebody, maybe Del Potro if he gets back healthy ever
What advice could Gaudio give to anyone after this ? :D If he wanted to become a coach, he just shot himself in the foot.
 
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