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Roger Federer’s transcendence from racquet-smashing tennis brat to an iconic role model!

Born on August 8, 1981, in Basel, Roger Federer was a racquet-smashing debutant, when he started playing tennis at eight. Sporting a ponytail the talented young player’s hair-trigger temper short-circuited his promising talent. Federer managed to defeat childhood hero Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001. However, he was knocked out in the first round the following year. “I had a tough time getting my act together out on the court, trying to behave properly. For me that was a big deal,” he once admitted. (See Roger Federer infant terrible

The Australian coach Peter Carter was the first among the coaches who shaped and influenced his style. (See Coaches behind the maestro It can be frustrating for any coach when a client loses self-control and turns self-destructive. As a skilled helper, Peter traced Roger’s mercurial temperament to his inability to handle frustration. It helped him overcome his vulnerability by staying focused on being unputdownable. Eventually, Roger cultivated a lethal backhand and demonstrated legendary all-court play. Peter is credited with identifying the talent in the teenager and helping him mold himself into what he is now. Roger is forever grateful to Peter who succumbed to a fatal car accident in 2002.

Timothy Gallwey was insightful in signaling the ‘Inner game of tennis’ at play. Yet I failed to comprehend the ‘inner game’ dynamics. I chanced upon this blog that explained the internal dynamics of cracking the mind game

Perception of an oddity or abnormality triggers the auto-defense system SAM, an abbreviation for the Sympathetic Adrenomedullary system. Instinctively, we exhibit a fight or flight syndrome. Vent our frustration to seek instant relief, recover and recuperate.

When the unfamiliar and the abnormal become intolerable, we invoke a built-in "counter-shock" system. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenocortical axis, HPA for short, comes to our rescue. The HPA axis reverses the effects of the SAM system to enhance tolerance and cultivate resilience. By learning to regulate the dynamics of SAM-HPA, we maintain our locus of self-control. Demonstrate personal mastery by staying focused and meaningfully engaged. I could now comprehend the power of managing the ‘Inner dynamics’ to transform a racquet-bashing tennis brat into an Iconic GOAT - The Greatest Of All Time.

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