Tennis is not so different to business. Every world class player needs a strong support team to help them to succeed by making better decisions
6 minute read
June 27, 2021
Last Updated: December 15, 2021
Tennis fans around the world have been patiently waiting for the All England Lawn Tennis Club gates in Wimbledon to open so the 2021 tournament can begin.
Whether you’ll be lucky enough to be there in person or will be watching from home, we’re all anticipating a brilliant fortnight of sport.
The greats effortlessly move around the court playing amazing tennis which inspires us all to want to pick up a racquet and have a go but it’s just not that easy in reality… The top players learn to anticipate, by seeing how their opponents’ shape up for the shot. To determine where in the court the shot will land.
It’s a fast-paced game and to even qualify for the top tournaments, let alone succeed at Wimbledon, or any of the other Grand Slams, the players need to put in years of hard work, discipline and practice to ensure they are armed with all the tools and information they need to perform at their best when it matters most. They make the complex look simple…
Part of this is knowing how to play on different types of courts. Have you ever wondered why some tennis players seem to dominate at different tournaments? How they adapt their strategies and playing style depending on the type of court? Here we take a look at three different surfaces of tennis and the “Big Three” of men’s singles tennis.
What can businesses learn from tennis?
Most tennis players dream of winning a Grand Slam. To succeed though, they need to be agile and able to adapt to different environments: clay, hard and grass courts. Most are naturally better on one type of surface which plays to their strengths, but they need to work hard to perform on surfaces where they are less strong.
It’s no different in business. A 360-degree approach is essential to ensure all aspects of your business are agile and effective if you want to succeed, no matter which environment you operate in.
Clay courts: dominated by Rafael Nadal
The surface of the court can change the speed and the bounce of the ball which therefore must change the way a player approaches the game. Clay is a slow-paced surface which results in longer rallies where players must maintain their technique and abilities for longer sets.
Rafael Nadal, dubbed the ‘King of Clay’ by spectators and commentators is a powerful, persistent and fighting player. He has an impressive record: “10 French Opens, three of which came without losing a single set. He’s the only player in history to go undefeated in 10 straights Grand Slam Finals on a single surface. 79-2 record at the French Open and a 92% career win-loss record on clay.”*
Again, showing that by putting in hard work matched with the right attitude and persistence you can succeed but he doesn’t do it on his own. He has his own ‘greats’ behind the scenes coaching him, helping him both physically and mentally so he can perform as he does on the court on the day.
Hard court: where the great players perform best?
Hard court is fast paced compared to clay. The surface is even so there is no impact in ball trajectory therefore players can better anticipate where the ball will land.
“Hardcourt is said to be the most neutral surface in tennis, which means that it is the surface where a player’s true quality can be gauged. A genuine great will always perform well on hardcourts.”**
Novak Djokovic is currently ranked world no.1 and has 19 Grand Slam titles, of which a record nine were won at the Australian Open, (hard court). This surface definitely suits Djokovic’s athleticism and speed, although he’s proved that he can excel on all surfaces. (He’s the only male player in the modern era to hold all four major tennis titles at once. (The Australian, French and US Opens and Wimbledon.)
Grass: fast-paced tennis at Wimbledon?
Grass courts are famously seen at The Grand Slam tournament known as Wimbledon. The fastest paced of all surfaces with low bounce requiring players to stay low during play.
“Players with a big serve and great volleys at the net have traditionally done well at grass court tournaments. The grass has slowed down a little bit over the last couple of decades, but it is still the fastest surface in the sport. If the weather is very dry, it makes the courts even faster.”***
The highlight of this year for many will be watching how Roger Federer, one of the greatest players of all time, performs; making it all look so effortless and simple. As a holder of 20 Grand Slam titles (a record he shares with Nadal), he has shown versatility to succeed on all surfaces, although grass is where he has truly dominated (holding 8 Wimbledon men’s singles titles.) Federer plays with an apparent ease and grace which belies the hard work and skills required to be at the top of his game for over 2 decades. Although recovering from a knee injury he’s planning to play at Wimbledon this week – showing true resilience and a passion for what he does, as well as respect for the game and his opponents. A similar attitude is needed to win in business.
Simplifying the complex
When an athlete needs to perform at their best, they arm themselves with all the tools and information they need so they are at the top of their game and put on a superb performance whilst making it look simple to those watching.
The three greats of men’s tennis have very different styles, but they also have plenty in common other than a love for the game; every world class player needs a strong support team to help them to succeed. Likewise, Ikano Insight can be part of your ‘team’ to help you make better business decisions and reap the ROI rewards of your company’s performance.
We can help you transform your KPI and trend insights with on-demand data visualisation dashboards. Data is the key to driving your business forward. It enables you to understand trends and correlations so you can make robust and profitable decisions using solid data insight rather than guesswork.
*Last word on Sport: Why Nadal dominates on clay
**Sports Keeda: Greatest hard-court players of all time
***Tennis Predict: What surface is fastest in tennis