Pacing Yourself

Jan 22, 2009

Jim Courier said something yesterday which immediately rang true for me – it was quite obvious and yet still insightful. He was commentating on Federer’s second round match and said “…you don’t have to play your best tennis every match to win a Grand Slam, you just have to play better than your opponent in each match…it all comes down to being able to win the last point”.

To win the Australian Open you need to survive 7 matches each of which could possibly go to 5 sets. One of the skills you need to learn is to pace yourself. Do what you have to do in the early rounds to get through. Gradually improve your game as the fortnight goes on so that you reach your peak for those last two matches.

Watching Murray tonight there were no over exertions. He used his first set to size up the game of his opponent, decided upon his strategy and executed well. The result – a straight sets victory. The last twelve months have seen him take on an enormous amount of knowledge about how to win big matches and tournaments…but I’m still not convinced he will win here. His dominance of Federer in their last couple of matches will count for nothing at the end of this tournament.

I think tomorrow night’s match between Federer and Safin will give everyone a true idea of where Federer is at. These two have a history of big matches at this tournament, and everyone is excited about the potential for more of the same here. Safin is the player in the draw most feared by everyone else – the guy they may have to meet early on in the tournament who can demolish anyone on his day.

I for one am hoping tomorrow is his day, not necessarily to beat Federer but to show us all (possibly for the last time in Australia) how supremely talented he is. Some would say his talent has been wasted, but for me that is all part of the package. I will continue to turn up to every Safin performance in the hopes of seeing a maestro at his finest.

Written by: Crooksy

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