Roger Federer: Inside the Mind of a Grand Slam Champion

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Roger Federer: Inside the Mind of a Grand Slam Champion

Roger Federer has become one of the most influential human beings in this world. The way he dances on the court reminds me of ballet dancers flying through the air without any hint of effort as they pirouette on the tips of their toes.

The hidden magic rests in Federer's entire body. The power of his strokes radiating through his body with every shot is outstanding. It looks as though it is first generated to the tips of his toes, then all the way to his fingertips in just a fraction of a second.

But there is something that I admire the most about Roger Federer, and that is his mental attitude.

Roger used to be a racket smasher, believe it or not. Roger described himself as a "hot head" during his younger days. It was a rare day back then when people didn't see his racket fly over the fence at least once.

His parents were disappointed in their son's behavior, and gave him the silent treatment after yet another one of his "hot head" episodes. This just increased Roger's anger levels. He was only upset with himself; never to his opponent, umpire or lines people.

The Australian Peter Carter was the man who changed Roger's attitude and ignited Roger's tennis career, but it wasn't until after Carter's death did Federer finally understand.

He was not acting the way that Peter had taught him—to always be polite and civil—and Federer had just brushed it aside. It was then when Roger stepped up to the plate and grounded himself back to reality.

Roger Federer is definitely a person whom other growing tennis prodigies should model after. He is indeed human, and started out just like any other "wild" young player—throwing rackets and temper tantrums.

But he forced himself to focus in such a way that he hardly ever shows emotion. Elisha Goldstein, a PhD Psychologist, says that you should not try to just "manage your time better and juggle more things" but to "prioritize your attention and do the most important things first". 

If you put this into tennis, it makes sense. It is impossible for a player to focus on more than one thing during a match; that just leads to trouble.

I am a thinking person, and I had trouble grasping the concept of "dumbing down" in tennis. I would be thinking what to do, when to do it and how to do it. But you can't do it that way.

Roger's tennis is so innate that everything is natural, and you can see this in other players as well. They have hit the ball so many times that they know exactly how it should feel every single time they hit the ball. They may make contact with the frame a few times, but that is unavoidable.

Another thing that a lot of players get too involved with is technique. True, you have to make contact with the ball correctly. But what about the other shots?

Roger has so many guns in his arsenal that no matter what may happen during the course of a match or a rally, he can change from one shot to the next in a matter of seconds without even thinking.

If, like Roger, you have multiple modes in tennis, you can stay relaxed by always having something to fall back on—like a tweener, perhaps.

There is one more thing that is important in a match—being able to accept defeat. Roger has had emotional and heart-wrenching loses just like everyone else (no matter what level).

After Federer lost the epic Wimbledon 2008 final to Rafael Nadal, he was crushed—as were the rest of the Federites around the world. A BBC reporter asked him the following year, "How long did it take you to get over the loss last year against Nadal?"

Federer's answer: "About two hours."

He said that the ceremony was difficult, as was the drive back to his house in London. But after that, he just put the match into perspective and moved on.

To lose a battle like that and move on in just two hours is quite remarkable. Some players lose a match like that and never seem to let it go.

Roger Federer has significantly promoted the sport of tennis, and has shown that no matter what happens in life, you can always bounce back.

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