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Ella Ling - Federer 3

Rod Laver exclusive: How to think like a champion

   
Exclusive tips from Rod Laver, the only man to twice win all four grand slams in a season. The Australian tells The Tennis Space: ‘How to think like a champion’.  
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Believe in your game. Play some shots. And, whatever you do, don’t panic. “Are you going to play steady all your life, or are you going to play some shots? Some days it will work for you, some days it won’t. If you want to be a success, you have to feel that you’re playing the right game, and really believe in yourself. So much of this is about confidence – when I look back at my career, so much came from being assured of my game and that I was playing the right way. It was a game of confidence. When it comes to it, are you going to panic or are you going to think to yourself, ‘I’m going to play a great shot’ and then go ahead and play it.”
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Don’t expect to play the perfect match. “I think some people are always looking to play the perfect match, and that’s never going to happen, so they get frustrated. Winning matches isn’t about playing perfectly. You just have to accept, ‘this is what is happening’.”
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Be lucky. “Being a champion is sometimes about having good fortune. Some players produce great tennis but never get the breaks.”
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Don’t quit. Learn from your defeats. “Too many players get so upset after losing matches and start thinking, ‘I can’t play this game’ and they think about quitting. But I always tried to learn from defeats. After a defeat I never thought for a moment about quitting. It’s about the learning curve. Remember when you were a child. You were happy after a win, and you were a little sad after losing, but not too sad. Don’t linger over your defeats.”
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Enjoy yourself. “As a kid you play the game because you enjoy it. You have that love for the game. You don’t want to lose that. You have to work hard to become a champion – there’s no magic secret – but you have to enjoy yourself.”
   
  • Curcuta Stefan

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