Friday, June 14, 2024

Tennis Speech of the Day: Lessons in Tennis & Life - 2024 Commencement Address by Roger Federer at Dartmouth College

         Video (Apx. 25 mins.) Courtesy: Dartmouth College

Commencement Address by Roger Federer
Dartmouth College 2024
June 09, 20024

Awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Roger Federer's address is a masterclass on emotional intelligence and lessons in life from one of tennis' legendary players. 


1. Effortless is a myth. (It's really about hard work.)
It's only a point. (Keep moving forward to the next point, the next task, the next objective.)
Life is bigger than the court. (Life is larger than any one topic or activity.)

1. Effortless is a myth.

Things might only appear "effortless". Actually, hard work, and smart work, is the foundation of confidence and success in tennis and life. Talent is not simply a "gift". It's also about grit, discipline, patience, trust in yourself and the method, loving the process and managing your life. 

It's only a point.
Any single point is just a point. Keep moving forward to the next point, the next task, the next objective. Federer played 1,526 professional matches. But he only won 54% of the points in those matches! Moral of the story: even the top professionals miss points - and a lot of them. Thus, learn not to dwell on a missed point. Teach yourself to think: it's only a point. The same in life. Keep moving ahead. This is how to overcome self-doubt and negativity - fully commit to the next point with intensity, focus and clarity. 

3. Life is bigger than the court.

Never forget that life itself is larger and more consequential than any one topic or activity. Family, friends, teammates, coaches, relationships, travel, experiences, vacations, relaxation, nature and much more form a meaningful and rewarding life. "Life is a team sport. . . your success depends on your team, your coaches, your teammates, even your rivals. All these help . . . to make who you are." 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

"The Most Beautiful Stroke in Tennis": The Immortal One-Handed Backhand

From: "The Most Beautiful Stroke in Tennis",
by Thomas Chatterton Williams,
The Atlantic, June 4, 2024

"What is so compelling about the one-handed backhand is the way a talented player can use the motion, especially on the run, to conceal until the last possible moment the direction of his shot. Power and consistency aren't the only skills involved; there's also subterfuge, and therefore artistry. More than any other stroke in tennis, the one-handed backhand is as good as the player using it. Its value rests on their ability to veil intent, change direction and pace, and foresee unusual angles. In other words, it is more dependent on a player's creativity than on his strength. It becomes a kind of signature that no else can forge."