4 Gotta Haves When Down 2 Sets to Love at Wimbledon
I just watched Andy Murray come back and win his Wimbledon quarterfinal match after being down 2 sets to love against Fernando Verdasco. The level of play was incredible, and these men covered every inch of that tennis court with the ball and their feet. Verdasco played “out of his mind”, with a quality well above his ranking, and won the first set. Murray gets the early break in the 2nd set, but he watches his 3-1 lead evaporate as Verdasco wins the second set 6-3.
The situation is looking dire for the guy I’m rooting for to win his “home” tournament!
I’m not sure Andy Murray can win this tournament with Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro playing so well, but let’s look at the 4 Gotta Haves Andy had when down 2 sets to Love at Wimbledon:
1. Calming Influence
When you look at Andy Murray’s match highlights from previous years, you see a fiery Scotsman yelling and wearing his heart on his sleeve. Then Murray got Ivan Lendl in his corner. Murray makes a bad shot – Lendl just sits there. Murray makes an extraordinary shot that leads to a standing ovation – Lendl just sits there (perhaps with a golf clap if at the end of the match). Ivan Lendl was unflappable as a hall-of-fame tennis player, and he brings that calm to the Murray box.
We could all use at least one calming influence in our lives – to talk us “away from the ledge” when we lose perspective (and our tempers, ahem).
2. Willingness to Go For It
Even though both players played well in the first two sets, and Verdasco deserved to win them, Murray had slipped back into his old habits of playing it safe and conservative. He was spinning his forehands and second serves, to keep a high margin for error, and Verdasco was punishing them. When it came down to a tight 5th set, and the winner needed to wrest control of the match from his opponent, Murray started flattening out his shots and going for winners. His belief in the hours of practice on fundamentals, to reach this critical point on the grandest of stages, allowed him to “go for broke”.
The Greek philosopher Epictetus said it best: “Tentative efforts lead to tentative outcomes. Therefore, give yourself fully to your endeavors. Decide to construct your character through excellent actions, and determine to pay the price for a worthy goal. The trials you encounter will introduce you to your strengths. Remain steadfast… and one day you will build something that endures, something worthy of your potential.”
Leave it all out on the court (or whatever your field of competition) – no regrets.
Even though I’ve seen Andy Murray play many matches, I am always astounded at the level of effort he puts out. He gives everything he has for every point, and he will run down every shot in the 5th set with the same abandon he displayed in the 1st set. His fitness and endurance are outstanding.
Sometimes you just have to “weather the storm”. When competitors are beating you with “out of their mind” brilliance, commit to outwork your opponents while standing firm in the knowledge that you laid a strong foundation for your efforts.
I almost titled this one “Be British”, but Murray is actually Scottish. However, the Brits have definitely adopted Murray – especially after last year’s gracious runner-up speech – and pin their hopes on him to be the first “Brit” to win Wimbledon since 1936. C’mon watch this video, and tell me your eyes do not mist up a bit as you see a NATION support an athlete after a defeat…
As Andy started clawing his way back into this 2013 quarterfinal match, the crowd roared with every point won – and groaned with every point lost. Murray fed off that “home court crowd” energy, and he lives to compete another day!
We all need fans to goad that “little bit extra” out of us. They mourn our defeats, and they share our victories, but they stand with us to the end.
How many of these “gotta haves” are in your arsenal? Who are you rooting for to win Wimbledon 2013 – both men’s and women’s draws?
Photo Credit: By Robbie Dale (Flickr: Andy Murray) via Wikimedia Commons