Choking: all in the brain?

News, WTA Players
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Choking in sport is somewhat of an unusual excuse for failure, and something that has foxed spectators and experts alike.

But there have been so many occasions when the sheer weight of the on-watching world proves too much and some cracks show, even greats like Steffi Graf was not immune from choking.

Unfortunately, the reason behind this is rarely physical so is own to mind games. Even the warm-up at tennis can shatter your opponent before the match.

A clever combination of sportsmanship, manipulation and intimidation has began, which obviously plays a major role in the final result.

Despite this form of sportsmanship taking place, once the strong-minded opponent has overcome their initial doubts about themselves then they are likely to bounce back and make it a two-horse race.

This is when the underdog gives the favourite a run for their money, and surpasses their own belief by destroying their opponent.

The unpredictably of results in tennis, and indeed in other competitions, are what help make sport so watchable and immensely popular.

Over the years, tennis has seen a string of famous matches turned upside down by an incredible result after players have fought back from the jaws of defeat. Although there are too many to mention, our choice of three unforgettable Grand Slam matches are:

1984 French Open – John McEnroe v Ivan Lendl

1993 Wimbledon final – Steffi Graf v Jana Novotna

1996 Wimbleon semi-final – Todd Martin v Mal Washington

“The warm-up can shatter your opponent before the match.”

– Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd, ex-tennis coach


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