How to Bounce Back From a Big Loss

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Have you ever experienced a big loss in a tennis match and found it difficult to regain your confidence or motivation to keep fighting and working towards your goal?

This can happen to anyone. Roger Federer is a good example.

Federer first lost to Rafael Nadal in the French Open final, a match Federer had no chance of winning. But when he lost his favorite tournament at Wimbledon in an extremely tight match (9:7) in the fifth set, the pain set in.

Since Wimbledon, Roger has lost to Giles Simon, Ivo Karlovic and James Blake. In none of these matches has he played in top form.

What is the solution for Roger Federer? What can you do if you experience a painful loss and can't find your way back?

Sooner or later, everyone loses a big match

Even the greatest players are not infallible. Consider a few examples.

Ivan Lendl lost four Grand Slam finals before winning one. He eventually won eight titles in 19 finals. One of his most painful losses was to Pat Cash in the Wimbledon final-the only Grand Slam that Lendl never won. No doubt many of the other final losses were painful, too.

Andre Agassi lost three Grand Slam finals before winning his first title at Wimbledon. Two of these losses were heartbreakers: the first French Open final against Andr?s Gomez in which Agassi was a clear favorite because Gomez was 30 years old, and the second final against Jim Courier in which Agassi was leading two sets to one and keeping Courier on the defensive until a rain delay helped Courier recover and adapt his strategy to win in five sets.

Patrick Rafter, arguably the best net player of all time, lost a Wimbledon final against Goran Ivanisevic. Although it was nice to see Ivanisevic finally win at Wimbledon (he had lost three times before in the finals!), it must have been traumatic for Rafter to never win the serve and volley tournament, his specialty, at Wimbledon.

If you take the time to explore the careers of top tennis players, you will undoubtedly find that all of them have experienced tough losses. These players remained at the top because they bounced back from defeat.

Take the sting out of your loss by reminding yourself that loss is part of the game, something to be accepted and released. It's not the big loss that keeps you from being at the top, it's your negative reaction to it that sticks in your mind and undermines your confidence.

Feel the pain, experience fully the emotions connected with your loss, and then refocus; remember what you achieved before this loss and that you can be successful again.
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