The 2015 Tennis US Open was an exciting one to say the least. Rafael Nadal went his first year in fourteen without a Grand Slam, and after three years of winning Women’s Singles, Serena Williams lost before even making it to finals. These were two of the biggest losses in a long time for the sport, and shocked viewers. In fact, U.S. Open prices plummeted as ticket holders who expected to see Serena Williams play began selling tickets.
Players in the business world can learn a lot from the unpredictability of tennis, and here are top 4 lessons we learned just from watching this year’s US Open.
Focus on One Match/Deal at a Time
After her unexpected loss to Roberta Vinci, Serena Williams told the press that pressure wasn’t what caused her defeat. Whether or not that was true, the player is usually famous for staying calm during high-stakes matches. She says she avoids pressure by focusing on one shot, point, and game at a time. It is only after a win that she allows herself think about the next match.
In business it can also be easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” of the future. While looking ahead is important, be careful not to get ahead of yourself. Learn to celebrate the wins as they come before looking to your next challenge.
Take Responsibility And Be A Good Loser When You Need To Be
Rafael Nadal, former number one player in the world, lost his chances of a Grand Slam this year after losing a 3rd round match to Fabio Fognini. This is Rafael Nadal’s first time since 2004 without the title, and rather than blame coaching, preparation or poor calls, he took responsibility for his loss. After his match Rafael told reporters, “the only thing this means is I played worse than the last 10 years….You can imagine how difficult it is to make that happen. I have to accept that it was not my year and keep fighting till the end of the season to finish in a positive way.”
In business, much like in sports, sore winners and losers often earn bad reputations for themselves. No one wants to work with someone who fires their employees after a loss, or immediate blames others. A good leader learns to point blame at themselves and learn from their mistakes.
Players are only as good as their coaches
Just because Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are considered the best tennis players in the world, does not mean they no longer need coaching. Almost every top tennis player could beat their coach in a match, but that doesn’t mean they stop relying on them.
A coach can ruin or make a player, and the same holds true in business. Without good management it is impossible for employees to do their jobs efficiently. They look to their bosses for direction, and without this the learning curve becomes stagnant.
Don’t be complacent
By now whether tennis interests you or not, you have probably heard about what is being called “one of the greatest upsets of all time.” Serena Williams, six time US Open Champion, was on her way to earning one of the biggest titles of her career, when she was unexpectedly beat by her lesser known counterpart, Roberta Vinci.
Whether you are a Serena Williams or Roberta Vinci fan, there is an important lesson to be learned here. Being complacent in your position isn’t going to get you a win against Serena Williams in the US Open. Whether you are the top dog in your company, or just starting off, complacency can mean big losses down the road.
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About the Author
Linnea Goldstein, Co-op
Linnea Goldstein is a Marketing Co-op and Northeastern University senior, working in communications, marketing and public relations. When Linnea isn’t at work she enjoys reading, sailing and being outside.