Expectations Can Hinder Performance

[40] Sam Querrey (USA) is a talented player who turned professional in 2006.  He was recognized because of his big serve and forehand, but was probably noted more for his laid back attitude, so much so that many fans and casual observers have been deceived by his apparent lack of intensity.  A misconception because there is a fire in Querrey’s belly to succeed, he just does not display it the way we expect.   It took him only two years to win his first title.  2010 was his most impressive year to date, he won four titles, got to a career high of #17 (1/31/2011) and then he went away. With his talent Querrey should be able to win at least two tournaments a year, but that has not been the case.  Why?

Success breeds higher expectations and many players struggle with that pressure.  Billie Jean King has a saying, “pressure is a privilege”; however, for many players it is too much of a burden that often hampers their performance and instead of propelling them forward, pushes them backwards. It would be two years later before he won another title and then there was a four-year period before he won his eight title.  Winning Acapulco in such a manner was a long time coming.  He played consistently high quality tennis, he did not fall into a negative mental slump when things were not going his way, and he beat four top quality players (two of them in the top 10 and one who was recently in the top 10).  Of interest, he had never beaten any of them prior to this tournament-impressive. This is the biggest win of his career in many ways and hopefully he will not fade away again and this season will be more successful than 2010.

We have seen this so often, take a look at Garbine Muguruza, Eugenie Bouchard, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and even Angelique Kerber to name a few.  They have struggled to handle the pressure of expectations after some amazing success; thus, players must be taught how to handle effectively the expectations that comes with their success if they want to continue succeeding.

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