| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of iStock

 

Most players are much better off leaving their emotions on the sidelines when a match gets tight.

There have been a few such as John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Illie Nastase and more who have actually played better at times after getting wound up. However, staying calm and keeping your focus on the next shot or point will be the most successful way to deal with pressure as the match gets down to the wire.

Being calm allows your body to use muscle memory, habit, and instinct to overcome the feelings that can inhibit your ability to perform in a close situation. Watching the 2022 Wimbledon Men's final reinforced my thoughts on this. I really feel that if Nick Kyrgios could have held himself together better (no talking to his box, no discussing issues with the umpire, and no crazy reactions after missed opportunities) as the match progressed, he may have pulled off one of the biggest upsets and surprises of all time.

On the other hand, Novak Djokovic stayed calm, cool, and collected for the majority of the match, even with all of the distractions and difficulties put in front of him by his opponent.

If you are just naturally emotional, it is okay to get some of that out of your system, but try to gradually work your way back to a calm mentality before the next point starts. This will give you the best chance for success in a big match and at those crucial stages when the match is usually won or lost. 

 

Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com in East Hampton, NY . Steve is also a tennis professional at Ventana Golf and Country Club in Tucson, AZ. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com