The talent that made Roger Federer great (and not Nick Kyrgios)

Recently, Roger Federer spoke about his definition of talent in tennis in his speech at Dartmouth. I was wondering what are the most important characteristics of a talented player. Is it just about technology or perhaps the ability to continuously improve, willpower, intelligence, perseverance, etc. also count as ‘talent’? The usual and, above all, correct definition of talent is something you are born with, something you cannot learn. It’s not hard work or determination. But talent is not limited to this.

Talent is the ability to control all tennis strokes and create things on the court using angles, varying effects, lengths, pace, aiming the ball, being comfortable at the net and moving fluidly around the court. But before all of this can be achieved physically, one must first have the vision that those shots are an option under different circumstances. You have to be able to see the shot before it hits.

And that requires a special understanding of the geometry of tennis. Without vision, no action can be taken. And so vision can be considered one of the elements that make up talent.

In tennis, part of talent is hand-eye coordination, which in tennis translates as ‘touch’, but also as timing. Timing is extremely important in tennis. Talent may also be court feeling or court instinct – the very thing that no amount of exercise can solve. Knowing where the other player is without looking, knowing where his ball is going and what angles are available at any given time. The ability to know in splits of a second what to hit, how to hit and where to hit.

While Roger Federer is probably more naturally talented than Novak Djokovic, it would be a stretch not to call Djokovic not talented. He has impeccable technique from both sides, especially on his backhand side – impeccable timing, insane hand-eye coordination, etc. He’s obviously a tremendous hard worker, but he certainly has a talent that 99.5 percent of players don’t have. .

Something similar would even apply to someone like Andy Murray. There are plenty of very solid baseliners in the men’s top 100, they can try to emulate the way Djokovic plays and practice rallies for hours and days, but they will still never come close to his level or his efficiency.

There are two equally indispensable components for anyone on the path to high performance: talent and character. Tennis talent also consists of two components: the first, I would call it ‘motor’ (the quality of your movements and body coordination fall into this category; the ability to be an excellent shot maker follows from it), and the other one that I ‘mental’ (ability to see the field, to read the opponent, to quickly make the right decision, ability to stay focused for hours).

Perseverance, exceptional work ethic, exceptional levels of motivation, moral compass, the ability to work until you drop, and, most importantly, one’s desire and ability to overcome difficulties, no matter how frustrating they may be – this is all ‘character’ , not ‘talent’. There are a lot of talented teenagers. Very few reach the stars because both talent and character are indispensable.

Nick Kyrgios is the perfect example of having the talent but not the character. Kyrgios has immense talent, or at least the early part of it, but as strong as his physical skills are, his psychological elements are among the weakest. The result, as we all know, is that he has not yet come close to fulfilling his (physical) potential.

The starting point is always the brain – always the psychological approach. And so, possessing the ability to see and interpret things psychologically in a way that allows you to perform at your best physically is certainly a talent in itself, and cannot be separated from purely physical talent, because the two are always , are always intertwined.

You could have all the physical talent in the world, but if you don’t have the right mentality and self-confidence, you will never get to the top. A player must have the right mentality to hit a shot in order to hit it. The psychological aspect has a major influence on physical actions. Federer said in his speech: ‘Most of the time it is not about a gift, but about perseverance.’

Rafael Nadal drops a grain of truth. Rafael Nadal drops a grain of truth. dark. Next one

When we see that players become nervous in certain situations and their physical strokes are strongly affected by this (almost always in a negative way). This is because the brain, or brain signals, control physical movements. And when a player is nervous, it often acts as a kind of paralysis of physical movement.

That’s why it’s often called “tight,” because it feels like your muscles are tensing, restricting free, fluid movement and resulting in poor physical performance. It also works the other way: when you are confident and playing freely, you feel loose and your physical movements are fluid and unhindered.

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