In this era, tennis has become continually compellingly fascinating. Old records are being displaced by new at an unprecedented rate. That flow appears destined to continue unless players of lesser ranking begin winning with some degree of regularity.
In my mind, on the men’s side, a convincing case can be made that a minor shift of this nature could be on the immediate horizon.
Lukas Rosol’s improbable but commanding upset of the number two seed, Rafael Nadal in the 2012 Wimbledon championships could be an indicator.
It can be argued that Rosol’s win was more indicative of the possible than probable.
But I’m leaning towards the probable because I’m convinced that a vast chasm in physical skills no longer exists between the top ten pros and all the rest.
Julien Benneteau came within two points of eliminating eventual champion, Roger Federer by employing the same Rosol tactic of “hyper-aggression.”
Rosol resoundingly illustrated it, Benneteau mimicked it while almost achieving an identical result against the GOAT (greatest of all time).
Rosol’s win must be categorized as an enormous upset, but that it did occur shows that it can. The logical extension then is that it should begin happening with greater frequency.
Because there is a legion of remarkably talented, physically gifted players who’ve now been provided with a shining example of what they too could be doing.
It’s not magic, it’s conviction.
They’ve lacked fundamental belief.
Seeing a player with whom they’ve toiled in relative obscurity vanquish a player of Nadal’s stature in a major is pleasantly surprising, inspiring, and, most importantly, instructive.
Rosol showed how to do it, (hyper-aggression) even with courts and conditions having undergone a gradual decade-long metamorphosis from fast to slower.
He took the initiative. He took the fight to Nadal from the opening bell and unrelentingly delivered body blow after body blow until the destruction was complete.
Undeniably Rosol was “in the zone,” but what, if anything, prevents repeat performances at that level?
Belief…that’s all. Six little letters arranged just so, b-e-l-i-e-f. He must first believe from his very core that what he did, he did, that it wasn’t a fluke.
Is belief inherent, instilled, the product of some life-altering experience, an epiphany, if you will? Can it be learned?
I think, to varying degrees, it’s all of the above.
Once acquired, can it then be bolstered?
Absolutely. Success begets success.
Lukas Rosol should now find a “still point” from which to ponder, relive and re-access his innermost emotions and mindset that led to the production of such brilliance.
The skills are already in place as was witnessed by the entire tennis world fortunate enough to have seen the match. It was more than simply a match because it wasn’t a match, it was a mismatch.
Playwright, Oscar Wilde once stated, “Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.”
Though Lukas Rosol is the most immediate proof of the possible success, there are more pros out there equally endowed with similar if not identical tools.
They need to apply the science; find belief, develop or access the requisite mindset and go out with a “hyper-aggressive” mode-of-operation.
The conditions of which Wilde spoke, probably in reference to writing and/or the arts, are applicable to any endeavor, including tennis.
The conditions have been elucidated and achievable results demonstrated.
I think these ideas are percolating within the psyche of more players now after this “Wimbledon of Revelation.”
The perceived gap is being closed.
It’s now just a matter of time.