Opponent #1 – The Other Player
This is the only real opponent that you want to battle. And there are varying degrees to how much of a battle this can be as well. The most important thing in any battle is to understand the opponent completely – both mentally with understanding how they go about their business and physically with what they are actually capable of doing. Knowing them really is half the battle – if not more.
Opponent #2 – You
Are you going to be friend of foe to – yourself? This is potentially the biggest and most harmful opponent that you can fight against. Staying positive, knowing there will be adversity, knowing that you are going to have to battle to get the victory is all so important to not beating yourself.
Opponent #3 – The Scoreboard
One of the most important things you can do in any tennis match is to break first. This then instantly activates a new opponent – the scoreboard. Players typically can risk more and play freely when the scoreboard is not applying pressure to their strokes. This is a huge deal in getting ahead and staying ahead.
Rafael Nadal’s Book – RAFA
The beginning of the 2008 Wimbledon Final v Roger Federer.
I had a flashback to this stage in last year’s final, just before play started,
I said to myself one more time that I was ready to accept whatever problems came my way and that I would overcome them.
Something else might fail me, my knee or my foot, my backhand or my serve, but my head would not.
I might feel fear, the nerves might get the better of me at some point, but over the long haul
my head, this time, was not going to let me down.