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Example Of How Tough Tennis Can Be On The Mind

Marin Cilic defeated Igor Andreev today in Monte Carlo but there was a game at 4:1 in the second set that can demonstrate what kind of situations happen in tennis and how mentally tough one has to be to overcome those.

Marin Cilic backhand
Marin Cilic backhand – Photo by MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

It was 4:1 for Cilic and he was also serving.

Here are 3 critical situations where Marin Cilic had basically won the the point but immediately “lost it” because of some external factor which he couldn’t control:

1. Cilic was facing a break point and hit a winner first serve. The score would be 40:40 but the line judge called the ball out. The chair umpire checked the mark and corrected the call.

So Marin had basically won the point but because of the line umpire’s mistake he was still facing a break point. He then served an ace. 😉

2. A minute later, Cilic was facing another break point. Again, he served a great first serve which resulted in a missed return by Andreev but the chair umpire called a let – which none of the players heard.

The net device signaled to the chair umpire that there was a slight touch of the ball and the net. Very unlucky for Cilic again.

3. A few points later (in the same game!) the players found themselves at deuce. Cilic served a first serve winner and for a second everything looked ok but then Andreev complained to the chair umpire that he was distracted by the line judge.

The chair umpire asked the line judge if he called the ball out and he confirmed. The call was so quiet though that only Andreev had heard it.

So the chair umpire told Cilic that the point had to be replayed. So Cilic lost another already won point because of line judge’s mistake.

All credit to Marin Cilic for staying cool, calm and collected despite all these unfortunate events that were against him. He was mentally tough and focused and did not allow himself to get distracted by these unfortunate calls.

Marin eventually won the match.

This is what can happen in tennis and it’s very important that you notice these events and realize how tough and unfair this game can be.

But if one if focused, knows that these things can happen and accepts them as the necessary part of the whole game of tennis, then even such situations can be overcome and that in the end gives you even more satisfaction and confidence.

If you have experienced some tough situations in a tennis match, please share them below!

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 at 1:30 pm and is filed under Mental Tennis. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Example Of How Tough Tennis Can Be On The Mind”
Arturo Hernandez Says:
April 13th, 2010 at 3:44 pm
Great Story. I used to play someone that always beat me. I would drive to his courts and we would play on Sundays. After we played he would always talk to me for a little while about whatever was on his mind. One time we were playing and I won the first set and was leading in the second. The games were close and I was up 6-5. At 6-5, he quickly blurted out that he needed to get his other pair of shoes because the shoes he had on were no good. I sat at the court and waited patiently. He showed up ten minutes later with another pair of shoes. I proceeded to lose the 6-5 game on my serve. But I kept telling myself to stay calm and just play through it. I ended up winning a tightly contested tiebreak. I went up to shake his hand. He mumbled something about his shoes. I tried to engage him in small talk like I normally did. He was curt and just walked off the court. He barely said bye to me. We never played again…


mk Says:
May 23rd, 2010 at 8:11 am
For me tennis matches used to be very mentally demanding if somebody cheated on me (like, big time cheating), I would usually completely loose focus and many time lose a match even if I was winning…

I would dwell on cheating incident, thinking, how can this nice mum lie in to my face on a nice sunny day, this is not fair-play, where is this world going to end up – I know, totally naïve!

What really helped me was the advice from my coach – the best one in the world! 😉 – he said, now imagine, every time you play a match, all the players at the tournament try to cheat on you and you know it in advance. So what will you do? Fight, of course, every time they try to steal a point from you, your word against theirs! So now I am much more confident defending the “stolen” points, plus it really amuses me to see that my opponents have to cheat on me to get points! Sometimes I even say to them: “Look, you don’t have to cheat, because I think you play really well!”

The other challenging situations, like bad ball bounces or unforced errors, “bad” day / luck – I am more and more accepting them as a part of the tennis game and statistics and am trying not to judge myself. I just try to go on, play the next point…