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Focusing On the Tennis Match at Hand, Rather Than the Opponent

Roger Clarke, Hinsdale

Roger Clarke is a respected Hinsdale, Illinois, tennis pro who works closely with Chicago-area students as instructor with the Hinsdale Racquet Club and the LaGrange Country Club. Roger Clarke places an emphasis on the mental as well as physical aspects of tennis, and the importance of focusing on the game at hand just as much as the opponent.

A compelling example recounted in the 2013 book “Game, Set, Match: A Tennis Book for the Mind,” is of Jimmy Connors, who concentrated solely on his own preparation for big tournaments and did not even check draw sheets before matches. Typically, after defeating one player, he would wait to learn who his next opponent would be. This avoided the mind games that can go into strategizing in a tournament.

An example: Before meeting a player slated to face him in the finals, Connors did not follow news accounts nor check the draw. He was simply confident that he would give his best performance in the coming match, and prevail.

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