Know thy opponent.
You are the second most important person on a tennis court.
Evgeny Donskoy defeated Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(5)
Roger Federer’s shock loss in the second round of the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to #116 ranked Evgeny Donskoy looks like a complete shock – on the surface.
- The Russian saved three match points.
- Federer served for the match at 5-4 in the 3rd.
- Federer led 5-1 in the 3rd set breaker. He lost six straight points.
- Federer made 73% 1st serves. Donskoy was at a lowly 48%.
- Federer hit 38 winners to Donkoy’s 28.
- Donskoy won 99 points. Federer won 104.
- Donskoy only made 17 unforced errors to Federer’s 31
Those facts are all pretty amazing. A very unlikely upset on the surface. But when you listen to Roger’s post-match interview, you get the real insights into how it happened. It’s important to know that this was the first time they had played. Here’s what he had to say…
That’s all you need to know.
That quote makes all the stats and the final result completely understandable. Even for Roger Federer, the match is not all about him.
The 3 BIGGEST questions in tennis.
- Who am I?
- Who are you?
- Who is the best?
For this match, Roger had the answers to questions #1 and #3. He knew what he wanted to do. He knew what the overarching patterns and percentages of the best players in the world. After all, he helped forge them.
But he didn’t know Donskoy. He didn’t know the answer to question #2, and that’s the primary reason why he lost.
A little more from Roger…
It clearly effected his mind. We never know the internal dialogue that goes on inside a player’s mind, but it plays a pivotal role in the outcome of the match. Not knowing Donskoy’s patterns of play, his tendencies, his favorite spots, really played havoc in Roger’s mind.
One more point and he moves on. One more point and this was just another Federer win, albeit a close one.
Always look on the bright side. Always look for the positives in a loss. Don’t be devastated. Let the losses go as quickly as you can, and focus on all that is good with your game.
It is OK. In fact, it’s a great lesson for all of us. Even if we have the toolset of a Roger Federer, it’s still not enough. It’s still important to know as much about the opponent as you possibly can.
LESSON: You are the second most important person on a tennis court.
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