Head master

In tennis as much as any sport, mental prep can be the difference between potential and production.

Originally Published: May 18, 2011
By Carmen Renee Thompson | ESPN The Magazine

WE SEE IT TIME and time again: An unforced error here, a missed break point there, then, just like that, a player's confidence melts midmatch. And until Novak Djokovic's stunning breakthrough this season, nothing turned up Slam heat in recent seasons like facing Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. The self-doubt of would-be opponents was palpable: Andy Murray's furrowed brow, Robin Soderling's drooping shoulders.

A defeatist demeanor makes sense. Federer and Nadal have won 25 ...

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