Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon and Self Confidence

Today is Monday, so this post is on self confidence.

Roger Federer won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon yesterday.  He beat Rafael Nadal; 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2.  Those of you who follow tennis will understand these numbers.  For those of you who don’t suffice it to say that they are indicative of a very close, hard fought match.  This is the fifth straight Wimbledon title for Mr. Federer.  Only Bjorn Borg has accomplished that.

Most tennis matches are best of three sets.  The four majors – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open — are best of five sets for men.  The Federer – Nadal match lasted four hours.  If you’ve ever played tennis, you know that a four hour match is exhausting.  It’s a very long time to play.  By the time both players got to the fifth set yesterday, you could see that they were tired – physically, mentally and emotionally.

In his four previous Wimbledon wins, Roger Federer had never had to play a decisive fifth set.  Decisive sets are tough on the nerves. Chris Evert, who won Wimbledon three times, the Australian Open twice, The French Open seven times and the US Open six times and has 18 major titles to her credit, says “in a decisive set, confidence is the difference.”

Watching Mr. Federer play yesterday, this was apparent to me.  He almost had his serve broken twice in the first two games of the fifth set.  But he rallied himself to win those games and go on to break Mr. Nadal twice to win the title.  I could feel his confidence, determination and steadiness across several time zones and over the TV.  He won the match because he believed he would win the match – no matter what Mr. Nadal threw at him.

Speaking of Mr. Nadal – a great player in his own right – he seemed to lose his confidence after he failed to break Mr. Federer in twice early in the fifth set.  He said, “I had big chances in the fifth.  I knew if I got the break in the fifth I had a very good chance for the title. Twice I had 15-40, and one was a really big chance to break. I missed a forehand winner. That was my best chance.”

But, like all champions – Mr. Nadal has won three major titles at the young age of 22 – his confidence bounced back quickly.  “I played a great tournament. I played against one of the best players in history on this surface. Right now it feels disappointing because I had good chances. These first moments – especially after you lose in the fifth set – are not easy. But I am a good loser. I accept the loss very well, and it doesn’t affect me for more than a few hours. Tomorrow I will be happy about my tournament and my game.”

Both Mr. Federer and Mr. Nadal have the self confidence it takes to succeed.  Mr. Federer just seemed to have a little more of it yesterday.

The common sense point here is simple.  If you don’t believe in yourself, you will not succeed.  Even a momentary lapse in self confidence can cost you – as evidenced by Mr. Nadal yesterday.  Self confidence alone will not bring you success, but it is the foundation on which you build your success.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


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  1. Thank you for sharing. I like Rafael Nadal. He played very good tennis

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