It is hard to believe that Rafael Nadal can continue to have the success he has had over the past 20 or so years. The style of tennis that he plays takes its toll on both the body and the mind. There are not many "free points" and winning the point usually involves a lot of moving and running.
The incredible thing about his efforts these days is that he continues to play every point like it is match point. Rafa has no regard for what just happened (especially if it was not in his favor), and walks up to serve or return serve with only the next point as his focus. His goal is to play every point the best he can and regardless of the outcome, do it again.
This sounds like a simple plan but it is extremely difficult to do when competing. Human nature makes us react to what just happened or to what could happen if we don't start playing better. Nadal starts with a blank chalkboard before each point and gives it his all.
Try to take this approach in your next match and see how many points you can play the best you can. If you can improve on the number of points played with this mentality, your results over time will improve as well.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org