Australian Open: Lessons for the competitive spirit and LRP

Stanislas Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal played out an extremely interesting final drama that had so many positive elements within it. Stan had been building Locker Room Power for over a period of a year, when he first took Novak Djokovic in a five set thriller in Australia last year and then followed up with another five set thriller in New York. Both matches were a massive disappointment for him but rather than losing confidence, he continued to gain confidence to make the top 8 at the end of the year. He continued to build his Locker Room Power to show the big four that he was not a fly by night but there to stay. Showing you have the game to compete at the highest level is one thing, repeating over and over again with the consistency to prove that you belong there for the longer term is another.

Another lesson to learn from the Men’s Final was the fact that Stan and Rafa are good friends off the court, yet when Rafa had the injury timeout Stan was upset as he was not quite sure whether Rafa was trying to break his rhythm. On the court they are competitors. The crowd were also sceptical and therefore booed Rafa when he returned to the court. However, they very quickly then learnt that he was genuinely injured. Here the lesson is that Rafa has no history of gamesmanship apart from taking time, which I believe is just his personal routines and nervous twitches. He has a history of great sportsmanship which includes playing through match at the Australian Open when he was injured, refusing to stop against Ferrer and now the same thing against Stan. He truly understands that you give 100% of what ever you have on the court and even though he was injured he competed as hard as he could given the circumstances. This is very admirable and he did not deny Stan the beauty of actually winning the final of a Grandslam, his first. The fact is this testament to this fighting quality shows that no matter how little chance you have you never know what is going to go on in the other persons head if you keep competing and for a long moment Stan wobbled very badly.

All in all a great Australian Open that showed character, personality and the wonder of sport. In sport when people compete hard you just never know what is going to happen and although favourites are called favourites because they generally come through and the joy is that nothing is guaranteed. It is also testament to how difficult it is for even the best in the world to win Grand Slams consistently. Those seven matches you need to win are extremely difficult because you never know the ambitions and desire and the improvements of the person facing you on the other end of the court. Locker Room Power is built over time with consistent messages and efforts. This gives you a slight edge, never a big edge, but an important one.

David Sammel


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