“Most important for us is that Roger is still hungry and willing to improve every day, After everything he has done and already won, the results this year have been amazing.” Severin Luthi, Roger Federer’s long-time coach
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of tennis, but I am definitely a huge admirer of grit, ingenuity, flexibility, and thrilling turnarounds. And the great and storied tennis pro Roger Federer, aka the Swiss Maestro, has shown all three of these in action while orchestrating a major comeback after shutting down his season last year due to injury.
In 2016, at age 36, he contemplated retirement. But he’s come roaring back. As one tennis analyst said, “He’s putting together the greatest year in the history of tennis, considering his age. I won’t speculate about retirement. He’s playing phenomenal tennis.”
While many of us may not be working on our backhand or making a run for Wimbledon, we can surely apply some of the lessons learned to the writing game with fruitful results:
Adopting a winning attitude matters: While a losing streak might have induced other players to quit while they were ahead, Roger made a different choice. “Still hungry and willing to improve every day,” his winning attitude served as the springboard for his remarkable new season. He also brought newfound patience to his game, giving himself time to heal and regain his strength after injury. Taking six months off to recover helped him physically and mentally: It renewed his passion for the game and eagerness to play.
Shifting strategy is smart: After knee specialists told Roger that if he stopped playing for six weeks, he could get back on the courts, he told them, “What if I gave you 12 weeks?” Instead of simply resting and taking it easy, Roger adopted a “workaround” approach, focusing on strengthening his legs and core — and creating an exercise regime that he couldn’t pursue as an active player. Instead of seeing his injury and time off as a liability, he turned them into an asset. The result? He bounced back better and stronger.
Playing your own game counts: Coach Severin Luthi noted that Roger wasn’t focusing on short-term wins or on competing with his rivals, but on bringing his best to the court. “He doesn’t compare himself with the others. He makes sure he is on the highest possible level and he knows what a privilege it is to play in and still win Grand Slams.”
Bravo, Roger! A winning attitude, a smart strategy, and playing our own game — we can do this! Write on!