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Roger Federer: 'It's not about having a gift, it's about having grit'

Roger Federer: 'It's not about having a gift, it's about having grit'

In a must-see commencement speech at Dartmouth, Roger Federer delivered fascinating insight into his championship mindset. The eight-time Wimbledon champ served up three "tennis lessons" to Dartmouth's graduating students.

However, the battle-tested lessons from Federer's speech at the Ivy League University gained a worldwide audience in just a few days. Video from the speech quickly went viral with fans sharing the footage all over social media.

Check out our key highlights from the Swiss maestro below...

1. Effortless is a myth

What was Fed's first lesson? “‘Effortless’ is a myth. People would say my play was effortless,” said Roger. And even though it looked that way to fans around the globe, he explained, "I didn't get where I got on pure talent alone. I got there by trying to outwork my opponents. I believed in myself, but belief in yourself has to be earned.

Photo: © On.

"There are days when you just feel broken [and] your back hurts, your knee hurts. Maybe you're a little sick or scared, but you still find a way to win. And those are the victories we can be most proud of, because they prove that you can win, not just when you're at your best, but especially when you aren't," he explained.

Federer acknowledged, "Yes, talent matters. I am not going to stand here and tell you it doesn't. But talent has a broad definition. Most of the time, it's not about having a gift, it's about having grit," he stated.

2. It's only a point

The second lesson, "it's only a point," was especially insightful. Federer revealed that in his career, he won 80% of his matches but only won 54% of the points he played!

"When you’re playing a point, it is the most important thing in the world. But when it’s behind you, it’s behind you," Federer said. "This mindset is really crucial, because it frees you to fully commit to the next point and the next one after that," he explains.

Photo: © On.

"The truth is, whatever game you play in life, sometimes you’re going to lose. A point, a match, a season, a job... it’s a roller coaster, with many ups and downs. And it’s natural, when you’re down, to doubt yourself. To feel sorry for yourself. And by the way, your opponents have self-doubt, too. Don’t ever forget that. But negative energy is wasted energy. You want to become a master at overcoming hard moments. That to me is the sign of a champion."

3. Life is bigger than the court

For the third lesson, Federer reminded the audience that life is bigger than a tennis court. It's not just you, alone, out there. He explains, “It was important to me to have a rewarding life, full of travel, culture, friendships, and especially family.” After all, no man is an island — even if you're a tennis player.

"Tennis, like life, is a team sport," Federer continues. "Yes, you stand alone on your side of the net, but your success depends on your team, your coaches, your teammates, even your rivals. All these influences help to make you who you are."

If you haven't watched Roger's commencement speech yet (or even if you have), it's worth taking a break to absorb his amazing "tennis lessons" in this video — it might be the most precious few minutes you have today. Check it out below...



Written by Florida Tennis' Executive Editor and Publisher Matt Pressman. Source: Dartmouth. Video: Dartmouth. Top Photo: © On.

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