Turning things around when everything points to defeat

This is a story about what it means to win:

It was the tennis final of one of the biggest tournaments of the world, the Australian Open.

Jannik (ranked number 4 in the world at that time) plays Daniil (ranked number 3 in the world at that time).

3 out of 5 sets need to be won in order to win the match in a grand slam tournament.

It’s the third set and Daniil clearly dominates the game. With every shot you can feel Jannik has a lower performance than his opponent and semms to not be able to keep up. As a spectator you kind of feel “the winner is clear”. The score shows it too: 6-3, 6-3 for Daniil.

I remember saying to myself while watching the game: “I thought it was going to be a tighter, more exciting game”.

You could see how Jannik starts to desperately search his coach’s eyes. “I don’t know what to do. Nothing works.”
You can literally see the tension in his body. The nervousness. The confusion.

He is only 22, not as experienced as older players who have turned around matches many times and know how to stay focused, so I’m thinking: “No chance. The game is done.”

But every time he turns to his coach, Darren, you can see no ounce of doubt in his face that Jannik can win. Not even a drop! He tells him “keep going”. I don’t remember the exact words, but you could see the focus was constantly there: “play ball by ball and keep staying on track”.

That’s what he does. The third set starts to work better for him. He slowly starts to win the points. The game becomes tight. It’s 4:4. And you can feel the scale tip. Jannik takes the third set.

In my head, I still believe it’s only one set, Daniil will take the fourth one and the game is finished. I am just happy the game got more entertaining. I am thinking, Jannik can probably not keep the high energy to win the game because it seems to ask a lot of him.
But to my surprise he does. He wins the third set, he wins the fourth and ends up winning even the fifth becoming the winner of the Australian Open 2024.

I can not believe the result. In a grand slam it is improbable for a player to win after being two sets behind and I had so little faith he could do it after watching the first sets, but not his coach. His coach was oozing faith all the time. Choosing to believe every minute of the game.

I start to realise: there is no magic there.
No sophisticated or magical strategy is being applied.
Just taking the next step and the next step in the best way that you can, not losing focus and not losing the faith.

Focus. Faith. Consistency.

Once again, as many times before, a tennis game teaches me the power of believing. I love this sport because there is no other in which you can see the power of the mind as much. One would think it’s only about physical ability or training routines, fitness etc. but it’s not. When two fit and good players meet, the one with the strongest mindset will win.

Of course in this case and because Jannik is still so young, his coach made all the difference, because he was lending him the faith that, in the future, he will for sure learn to master on his own.

His coach Darren Cahill “has been credited with giving Sinner the belief to beat the best of the best. Sinner has won 10 of his last 11 matches against top five ranked players.” quote from Foxsports on January 29th, 2024.

One of my favourite sayings is this:

“a winner’s a winner before they win.”

Because we win in our mind first, then we can win at life (or anything else).

So why did I tell you about this game in such detail?

Because it is ABSOLUTELY the same in real life, outside the play ground.

When we stop believing in ourselves, we take away all our chances. When we give the power to outside factors to dictate the results we can or can not achieve, we lose at life, because we forget we are creators.

When we expect something from the outside to give us the perfect conditions to be able to win (whatever winning means to us) and wait for them, we give up on our power and potential.

Some believe they can not do it because. . . and some believe they can do it because. . . The second one is where the true journey of living life begins. And it is not something that we just have or not, it’s something that we need to train and can learn to master.

So the art of winning starts with this question:

How can you still believe when everything around you and maybe even inside you points to losing, failing, not making it?

When the doctor gives you that devastating diagnose.
When your bank account goes to zero and bills pile up next to you.
When you experience betrayal from people close to you more than two times in a row.
When you don’t reach the goal you’ve been working for for years.
When a bad divorce happens?

How can you still win?
How can you still believe?

That’s what this tennis game teaches us. You can turn things around, when you stay on track, don’t give up and hold the faith. Even when so much speaks against you.

That’s what THE ATHLETE is all about.
You can apply for this 1:1 space together here, if you want to expand into the art of winning.

I’ll reveal to you that it’s all connected to doing what you love, achieving excellence, bringing out your true potential and living your dreams.

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