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Federer makes it all look like gravy

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Tennis champion Roger Federer never thought he’d dominate his sport, much less have a shot at becoming a tennis superstar. Barring injury, he’ll continue gaining ground this year on tying, and perhaps even beating, Pete Sampras’ record number of Grand Slam titles. At age 25, Federer needs five wins to tie.

Asked how hard it is to step on to the court knowing that everyone expects him to win every time, Federer says the opposite of what you’d think:

“The pressure disappears with experience. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to make the breakthrough. Everybody was telling me how good I was and how I should be ranked higher. When I became No. 1, the pressure left me because I felt that I finally did everything I wanted. I won Wimbledon, the Australian Open. So, basically, my career could have been over, and everything that’s coming after that is a bonus for me.”

He concedes, though, that he’s more interested than ever in making tennis history.

“But I don’t get crazy about it, like Tiger Woods,” he says of his golfer friend. “For him, all that counts is beating Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. I realized this when I met him. I am much more relaxed.”

Lesson: If staying at the top of your game has you on edge, take a page from Roger Federer. You’ve hit the sweet spot already. Savor it.

—Adapted from “Roger Federer Faces History,” James Martin, Tennis.

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