Messrs Mahut and Isner at Wimbledon are showing us what happens when you find and ideal performance match… their strengths seem to nullify each other’s strengths, and their weaknesses can’t be exploited because the opponent doesn’t have the appropriate skill to make the most of the achilles heel that is present.
At 59-59 in the final set, it’s a remarkable feat of mental and physical strength and represents a situation neither could have prepared themselves to be in. There is the old mantra of ‘expect the unexpected’, but even the wildest imagination would not have considered this scenario. When this happens, all you can do is use the preparation you are used to to help you focus on controlling the current challenge. Each player very clear moved into a “just one game” mentality, taking each point and each game, one at a time, as is the previous hundred or so had not been played. In the face of great challenge, the simplest and most effective coping skills often come out and provide us all with a great reminder that consistently great performance is comprised of many of the same actions, repeated over time, to build that incredible legacy.
How are you going to use the example of Mahut and Isner to help you today?
You are heroes gentlemen… your pursuit of this win will have compromised the ability to progress much further in the tournament, but your desire to win out in this match is incredible and sometimes sport is much more about the single challenge than the ultimate prize…