Robin Soderling stunned defending champion Roger Federer in Tuesday's quarterfinal action at the French Open, winning 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in come-from-behind fashion.
It's the first time Federer has failed reach a Grand Slam semifinal in six years.
The mental toughness story behind this match was Soderling's unfailing optimism.
Even though Soderling had lost to Federer 12 times in a row, he still BELIEVED.
"Even though I lost (to Federer) so many times, I always have a chance to win,” Soderling said.
Most players in Soderling's position defeat themselves mentally before they even get on the court.
He stayed aggressive on the slow, wet court -- conditions Federed doesn't like.
After the match Federer admitted: "These were some serious, tough conditions, you know.
If you serve 225-230kms/hour, you can still serve through the court. I’m maybe lacking those 5-10 K extra to hit through a guy on the serve.”
In true professional style, instead of giving in to conditions, Soderling seized the moment.
The mental toughness Soderling displayed this week is not hard to learn.
The next time you are the underdog in a match, get your mental ducks in a row by visualizing yourself winning.
Every athlete who has broken through first started out intimidated.
Mark Tewksbury, one of the greatest swimmers of all time, scared himself the first time he visualized winning.
That's because he had to imagine beating his HERO, legend Matt Biondi.
Quite a shock.
Also...resolve to be mentally prepared for all conditions, even if they weaken your game a bit.
EXPECT bad conditions, and adapt your game plan.
Don't give them the power to distract you.
Most athletes aren't using even simple mental toughness strategies like these.
Want to be different?
Want to gain the mental edge?
The Courage to Win in Sport is all about getting rid of the blocks in your mind that are preventing you from winning consistently.
In the Courage to Win, you grab your mind and steer yourself on the path to success.
You are in control out there.
You learn to trust your mind and body.
And, over time, you replace your doubts with winning thoughts and images.
It's your job to unlock your potential...
And the Courage to Win in Sport can help.
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