What was it like to play the young Roger Federer? How did his mindset change as he matured? Discover lessons we can learn from the GOAT's mentality.
Coach: Chris Haggard, former world no.19 doubles. Won 7 ATP titles.
Bio: Turned pro in 1993. Spent 15 years on the ATP Tour. Excelled at doubles to reach career-high #19 ranking. Stayed in Top 50 for over a decade. Won 7 ATP titles. Reached SF Australian Open and QF of both US Open and Wimbledon. Career wins over Bryan Brothers, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Leander Paes, Pat Rafter, Leyton Hewitt, and Marat Safin.
Birthplace: South Africa
Length: 2 min 41 sec
I want to talk a little bit about Roger Federer and (and) how he influenced my tennis career and what I learned from him.
I was fortunate to play him four times in my career in doubles. And, I played well against him. I respected his ability, I wasn't intimidated. What I really learned from Federer is you can change. No matter how good you are, mentally, you can make subtle changes. And I just remember the first time I played him, he was probably a 20, maybe 21 year old. Over the years and over time, you know, with (with) his people that he was seeing, you know, he switched, and he became this, I wouldn't say robotic player, he was totally aware of his emotions when he was playing. And, you could see the level just improve dramatically. I saw him move to number one, and obviously, and then he became the greatest of all time, I think the shift was more mental than tennis, that's a great lesson that we can all learn. And as even if the greatest person ever can change, you know, we have that ability to change. If emotions are getting in the way, you know, we can make the adjustments.
The second time I played him, you know, he was a little older, and he was number one in the world. He was playing with his best friend, Yves Allegro and we're playing in (in) a tournament and Yves wasn't, you know, he was just a doubles player. And, he wasn't to the level of Federer. I just remember Federer's attitude in that match. And, I just felt like, you know, the first time I played him, he was (he was) a boy. And you know, he was up and down. You could see the talent, but he'd become a man in and I just felt it on the court playing against them where, you know, it didn't really matter what (what) Yves did, Federer just stayed calm. And, he (he) took over the court. And the difference was remarkable. You know, this was someone that the first time I played him, you know, he was up and down emotionally, he'd miss a shot, I could see he'd get upset. If you play a good point, you'd get super excited. And, then the next time I played him, and he was just so calm, nothing seemed to bother him. And, he'd found something you know (you know), we talk about getting in the zone. He'd figured it out, you know, I really think you'd figured out how mentally how to be in that zone so his tennis could flourish. And I think that was the (that was the) most impressive thing that when I saw that I knew that this I'm witnessing probably the greatest tennis player of all time. You know, I'm very humbled that I got to experience two sides of Federer, you know, the one that was coming up with the talent but still didn't (didn't) have the mental attitude needed to be the greatest ever and then someone that had actually overcome that and figured out how to control his emotions and be in the zone and (and) perform.