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The Pressure Of Carrying A Nation At Wimbledon

By July 17, 2019 No Comments

It’s been another year another instalment of Wimbledon this summer and it was certainly one to remember with Simona Halep destroying Serena Williams in the women’s final and Novak Djokovic edging out Roger Federer in a men’s final for the ages. However, despite all the success of the iconic grand-slam, it was another dismal year for the British singles hopes with Johanna Konta looking strong until she crashed out in the quarter-finals. In the men’s it was an even poorer showing for the Brits as Dan Evans went the furthest after reaching the third round.

There has been a big void to fill following the success of former world number one Andy Murray who has been battling injury issues in recent years. The Scotsman has won two Wimbledon titles in 2013 and 2016 and was the first British male player to win the Grand-Slam since Fred Perry in 1936. So why has British success in the tournament been so rare?

 

The Pressure Of A Nation?

There’s no doubt that pressure certainly plays a part in the repeated failure of British tennis players at Wimbledon. It’s not a surprise to see British players that sometimes would never get that level of attention cracking under the intense pressure. Andy Murray’s mother, Judy, a well-known and vocal cheerleader of her son at courtside, attempted to paint a picture of the bedlam that accompanies the Murrays at their home grand slam.

“I would love to enjoy Wimbledon more,” Judy was quoted as saying in The Telegraph newspaper. “I used to enjoy it. But so much stress comes with the pressure and expectation that is on Andy and the fact that the spotlight is very much on us as a family. The hopes of the nation are always on him.”

Furthermore, Johanna Konta who was the big hope for this year’s tournament seemed certain to make it to the semi-finals after she was due to play world number 54 Barbora Strycova. Konta had been hoping to emulate her 2017 feat of reaching the last four and getting closer to becoming the first British women’s singles finalist since Virginia Wade won the title in 1977. However, despite having a 4-1 lead in the first set she crumbled and ended up losing in straight sets.

How Can They Overcome It?

Big game players over the past years including Djokovic, Federer and Williams seemed to have had the power to block out the pressure of big games and tournaments. Certainly from a psychological point of view the Brits at the need to focus more on blocking out the mind and enlisting the help of a psychologist.

This is something that Konta has invested in and her coach thinks her mental game isn’t letting her down. Lorenzo Beltrame spoke to the British number one soon after her Wimbledon quarter-final defeat by the world number 54 Barbora Strycova. “Let’s go back to the Fed Cup [ties earlier this year],”

“Konta played constantly with players who were ranked below her and was always able to win in tight battles.”

Beltrame, who has been assisting the 28-year-old for just over a year, added: “The last thing we want to do is create a rule that when she’s favourite, she can’t come through.

“I don’t see the value in making a rule out of the statement for future matches. I think it is something we might have discussed, but it didn’t appear to be an issue in her mind, and that is great.”

The pressure of Wimbledon on the Brits isn’t going anywhere any time soon so is it vital that they find new ways to handle the pressure.