Novak: The Master of Preparation and Resiliency 42

The final between Novak and Roger was, once again, an extraordinary match.

Roger, constantly working to find the opportunity to strike with his offense.

Novak, covering just about every spot of the court and defending at a level that has never been seen in the game.

The question he asks of Federer: can you hit enough winners?

The question Federer asks of Novak: can you get to that winner?

Offense defense at its best.

I find it amazing that Federer can beat him as great defense will almost always defeat great offense.

Tennis is most often a game of who makes the fewest errors.

Roberta Vinci said it best: I hit the ball on the court. And I run. And I run.

Isn’t that how Novak has challenged Roger? Isn’t that how Rafa defeated Roger?

All this aside, though, as what I took away from this match was all about Novak’s ability to prepare to bounce back from lost points and to bring his very best to the most important moments.

Who has ever been as resilient as him. He gets up for the mat after being knocked down like no others before him. He is a real life version of Rocky.

Twenty three times, Roger got to game point on Novak’s serve. Twenty three times knocked down despite being in control of most of those points.

He took one moment took look at his box. To get some message from them that he has the ability to bounce back. Another moment or two reminding himself that the point he lost is over, not worth another thought. For sure a moment of reminding himself how he is at his best when behind. Another moment or two to reset his body by putting his shoulders back and holding his head up high. Another moment to remember loving the toughest moments. A couple of moments of his rituals of looking, first, into the court, then the multiple bounces to settle in and go quiet before tossing the ball. And then living the next point in the freedom of the present. No thought. Just be. Just play.

Nineteen times, against the greatest offensive player who, yesterday was returning serve great, Novak got up from the mat and threw a knockout punch.

After being on the mat, using his ritualized preparation, he won the point that needed to be won.

This is where Novak defeated Roger yesterday.

Not Roger’s misses.

Novak’s resiliency.

One follow up comment as it relates to my Serena blog.

These two great champions showed so much respect and class at the end of this match. A little tougher for Roger but still the gold standard of being a great loser. Novak talked only of Roger in his acceptance speech.

Thank you guys for teaching us how to rise above the wins and losses.

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