Good Loser

Sports Comments

There are many reasons that are attributed to Federer’s success - his talent, the ability to stay calm on the court and also his fitness. However, one reason that is often overlooked is how well he has handled his defeats. One of the reasons why Federer was able to win so much is that he was able to quickly move on from his losses and start winning again. Everyone (even the greatest, the happiest and the most successful) go through failures, losses or defeats in their lives . It is in these moments, that the champions distinguish themselves from the rest. This blog post is about one such incident.

In the 2011 US Open Semi-Final against Djokovic, Federer was up 2 sets to 1 and then was serving for the match at 5-3 40-15 and then this happened - (as a Fed fan, this still hurts!!)

Novak Djokovic saves 2 Match Points against Federer in US Open 2011 SemiFinals

While one can argue that it is easy to overcome losses when you’ve achieved as much as Federer, this press conference after his loss to Djokovic would tell you how much this loss had affected him. And when you care so much about the game as Federer does, it is not hard to imagine why -

Roger Federer after his shattering loss to Djokovic in US Open 2011 SemiFinals

The loss was so shattering that, Federer went into a shell and didn’t play another match for 2 months. He had just turned 30 and also dropped out of the Top 2 for the first time in 6 years. Most of the critics had written him off. And this is how he responded -

  1. Didn’t lose another match in 2011 - Wins the ATP Basel Tournament, BNP Paribas Masters in Paril and the ATP World Tour Finals (including 6-3 6-0 victory over Nadal).
  2. Wins the Qatar Open in 2012, the ABN Amro, Dubai Open, Indian Wells and the Madrid Open in 2012.
  3. Most importantly, Wins the 2012 Wimbledon and becomes World No. 1 again.

The only reason why Federer is able to move on quickly is because he still loves what he does. Winning or losing doesn’t matter anymore, he’ll continue to play as long as he enjoys it and is able to compete at a high level - irrespective of the result. One can draw a similar parallel to Steve Jobs coming back to Apple and introducing the iPod, iPhone and iPad after being fired from the company that he had started.

Steve Jobs after his return to Apple

Federer lost in 5 sets to Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon Final (the day he had turned mortal) but came back to win the Wimbledon next year. He again lost to Nadal in 2009 Australian Open Final in 5 sets that caused him to say “God, it’s killing me” but came back to win the Australian Open in 2010. When Federer lost to Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon final, many critics thought that he had missed his last opportunity to win a Grand Slam. But yet, Federer’s chances seem even better now than last year.

Roger Federer

Keep Calm and Roger That! #WimbledonFever #1DayToGo #excited

Source - Inspired from this article from Wall Street Journal.

Kaushik Rangadurai

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