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Tennis Warrior
September 2004 Article

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What does a 1.0 player and a 7.0 player have in common?

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Tom Veneziano

After his win at Wimbledon over Mark Philippoussis, Roger Federer stated that it was not until he learned to relax in his matches that he began playing well and winning more. The pros are confronted with the same problems you are when they play. They also must learn to stay relaxed, fight self-doubt, forget their mistakes, believe in themselves, not over think, and so on. Whether you are a 1.0 player or a 7.0 player, if you're human you will have to deal with many mental battles. You may be thinking, "But the pros should know better." Yes, you're right, they should, but they are human pros!

Here is how it works for all levels. When you are a 2.0 player you look over and see the 3.0 players and think, "wow, they are good; I'm not sure I can play with them." Then when you become a 3.0 player you can play the 3.0's confidently, but you think those 4.0's and the 5.0 players are really tough and too much for you. If you become a 5.0 player you are a confident player, but you may not believe you can play the 5.5 and 6.0 players. If you became a 7.0 player (world class player), ranked number twenty in the world, you would be an extremely tough, confident and relaxed player. Right? Nope! The same problems exist. The number twenty guy thinks, "I'm only number twenty, I can't play with the top five guys." And I suppose the number one ranked guy has to come to terms with himself on whether he is worthy of this spot or not or if he can even keep it!

The point is, EVERYONE constantly has to work on the mental game. Do not think that because a person is better than you that he or she has mastered the mental game. They have NOT! Roger Federer is a world class player, yet he has only just learned to relax properly when playing higher level players. Your opponent, who may be a notch above you in skill, may be a notch below you in mental toughness. Do not think that because your opponent is a better player he or she is also mentally tougher. Have fun, relax, believe in yourself, and let your opponent worry about YOU!

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This column is copyrighted by Tom Veneziano, all rights reserved.

Tom is a tennis pro teaching at the Piney Point Racquet Club in Houston, Texas. Tom has taught thousands of players to think like a pro with his Tennis Warrior System.


In Tom Veneziano's book "The Truth about Winning!", tennis players learn in a step-by-step fashion the thinking the pros have mastered to win! Tom takes you Step-by-step from basic mental toughness to advanced mental toughness. All skill levels can learn from this unique book from beginner to professional. No need to change your strokes just your thinking.

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