PDA

View Full Version : Mental Toughness Best Ever


Brussels
Oct 4th, 2007, 10:27 PM
1. Evert
2. Seles
3. Serena
4. Henin
5. Sharapova

DA FOREHAND
Oct 4th, 2007, 10:49 PM
1) Steffi Graf

2) Maggie Court
3) Evert

4) Seles
5) Serena

sfselesfan
Oct 4th, 2007, 11:12 PM
I'll go from 1980 on because I've watched those years more.

I think the most clear indication of players that are truly mentally tough is the ability to not get shaken and come back when you're down, or win the big points in the big arenas. I think these players have proven records of mental toughness. Even when their game is off, they can power through. In my opinion it was the greatest weapon of Chanda and Mary Joe (if not the only real weapon they had). I also see Venus as being more mentally tough than Serena.

Top 10:

1. Monica Seles
2. Chanda Rubin
3. Mary Joe Fernandez
4. Steffi Graf
5. Chris Evert
6. Venus Williams
7. Helena Sukova
8. Andrea Jaeger
9. Aranxia Sanchez-Vicario
10. Martina Hingis (minus Roland Garros)

Honorable Mention:

Serena Williams
Conchita Martinez
Sandrine Testud
Kimiko Date


SF

OsloErik
Oct 4th, 2007, 11:12 PM
1.) Evert. Think of how often players freak out when someone moves to net. Now think of how many players did that to Chrissie. She never freaked out. And she would hit about 5 errors a match, tops. That's mental toughness personified.

2.) Graf. She pulled herself together a whole lot of times, she came from behind a whole lot of times, and she did it by sticking to her strengths. That's hard to do.

3.) Seles. She came back after the stabbing, not as good as before but still pretty damn good. She also never got down on herself in a match.

4.) Serena Williams. This one's tricky because she's still playing, and she has hit a rough patch, but the fact remains she's lost only around 30 matches to players who haven't won slams. That's a stunning number, especially since you'd think people who have nothing to lose would try harder. Plus, there's no player who has willed herself to win as much as Serena Williams has.

5.) This one comes out of left field, so brace yourselves: Maria Bueno. She was entirely self-taught. How crazy is that? Also she came from nowhere; nobody had any clue who she was when she started winning things, and she didn't stop winning things for a long, long time. Also, she was the only player I've ever seen (DVD) who could make Margaret Court look foolish on court. That's an accomplishment.

tennisbear7
Oct 4th, 2007, 11:56 PM
What about Nav?

Geisha
Oct 4th, 2007, 11:58 PM
Serena has to be up there. Her only weak spot was in '01.

Venus was amazing at the beginning.

sfselesfan
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:02 AM
What about Nav?

Martina had a million weapons, and yes she was relatively mentally tough. But she was not top tier. She got very emotional and beat herself up too much in my opinion. When you look at her game overall, I'd say mental toughness is actually one of her weaknesses in comparison to her other gifts.

Also, I want to comment on why Henin isn't in my list. To me, the 2006 AO final disqualifies her from consideration in this category completely. Just how I feel about it.

SF

Billabong
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:17 AM
For me, definitely Graf... How many times did she come back from behind in HUGE matches, has seen her opponents serve for championships before coming back and win, especially in Grand Slam finals:eek:!! 1991 Wimbledon final, 1993 Wimbledon final, 1996 French Open final and 1999 French Open final are great examples of her incredible mental strength..

Sund7101
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:24 AM
1. Evert- best ever mentally, never showed any emotion and was able to regroup quickly.

2. Seles- before the stabbing she was almost unbeatable.


3. Graf- after Monica left who did Graf have to beat ASV :lol:
4. Serena- '03 and '05 Oz Open are a clear indicator

5. Hingis- despite her breakdown at the French, Hingis was very good mentally. She walked out onto the court with the attitude she would win and most of the time she did.

mankind
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:25 AM
I'd get Henin off that list. Mental strength is one of her major weaknesses, IMO, and part of what has previously stopped her from winning all 4 majors.

Billabong
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:26 AM
1. Evert- best ever mentally, never showed any emotion and was able to regroup quickly.

2. Seles- before the stabbing she was almost unbeatable.


3. Graf- after Monica left who did Graf have to beat ASV :lol:
4. Serena- '03 and '05 Oz Open are a clear indicator

5. Hingis- despite her breakdown at the French, Hingis was very good mentally. She walked out onto the court with the attitude she would win and most of the time she did.

Hingis at her prime was definitely very strong mentally, but she failed to show that in 2 huge moments: 99 French Open and 02 Australian Open finals... She also dropped some leads in the last 2 years, but nothing comparable as those 2..

roger_maria4ever
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:42 AM
chakvetadze:tape:

shap_half
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:44 AM
Also, I want to comment on why Henin isn't in my list. To me, the 2006 AO final disqualifies her from consideration in this category completely. Just how I feel about it.


I don't understand this. To recognize your limitations and make excrutiatingly difficult decisions (ones that you will receive so uch flak for) on the court is no small thing. I know that a lot of people don't agree with her decision, and that's fine, but to know when to say enough is enough has to count for something.

People here want to say that it was "just a tummy ache," but really, who knows? At the Olympic games against Myskina, in the midst of recovering from a career defining illness, Justine's game was completely shot, and yet she hung on and won.

shap_half
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:45 AM
I'd get Henin off that list. Mental strength is one of her major weaknesses, IMO, and part of what has previously stopped her from winning all 4 majors.

Care to elaborate?

sammy01
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:49 AM
for me its seles (prestabbing). the 1992 french open final was her at her peak mentaly and she was never gona lose that match!

mankind
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:35 AM
Care to elaborate?

Wimbledon 2006. Won the first set 6-2 against Amelie Mauresmo of all people, then loses in 3.

Wimbledon 2007. Do I really need to elaborate on this one?

Justine is my favourite player, and she might have had to battle through some tough situations in her personal life, but on court she is extremely weak mentally.

partbrit
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:43 AM
1. Evert (I'd make her 1, 3 and 3 if I could)
3. Seles
3. Graf
4. Henin

Cp6uja
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:57 AM
1. EVERt
2. SEles, SErena
3. gRAf, shaRApova,
4. hINgis, henIN
5. sanCHez, CHakvetadze

Apoleb
Oct 5th, 2007, 02:01 AM
Justine is my favourite player, and she might have had to battle through some tough situations in her personal life, but on court she is extremely weak mentally.

:weirdo:

Spare us this crap, please. Justine can be off mentally on certain days, like almost every player, but she showed extreme resilience in the most critical moments too many times for someone to reasonably say "she is extremely weak mentally." You don't save a set point with your best second serve in the match if you're mentally weak. Or win after being 11 times 2 points away of going out. I don't need to go on ofcourse.

mankind
Oct 5th, 2007, 02:35 AM
:weirdo:

Spare us this crap, please. Justine can be off mentally on certain days, like almost every player, but she showed extreme resilience in the most critical moments too many times for someone to reasonably say "she is extremely weak mentally." You don't save a set point with your best second serve in the match if you're mentally weak. Or win after being 11 times 2 points away of going out. I don't need to go on ofcourse.

I'm sorry I offended you by having an opinion.
Justine is the best player in the world, of course she can win big matches and big points. But a lot of the times that I have seen her play she has appeared mentally vulnerable. I wouldn't put her up the top for the most mentally strong of all time, but I would definitely put her up there for having the greatest skills of a tennis player of all time.

I think people in here are getting confused between being a great player and being mentally strong. 2 different things, although one definitely does help the other.

friendsita
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:06 AM
Serena & Steffi

bellascarlett
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:11 AM
1. EVERt
2. SEles, SErena
3. gRAf, shaRApova,
4. hINgis, henIN
5. sanCHez, CHakvetadze

i get what you did, but chaky? :unsure: :lol:

shap_half
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:14 AM
I'm sorry I offended you by having an opinion.
Justine is the best player in the world, of course she can win big matches and big points. But a lot of the times that I have seen her play she has appeared mentally vulnerable. I wouldn't put her up the top for the most mentally strong of all time, but I would definitely put her up there for having the greatest skills of a tennis player of all time.

I think people in here are getting confused between being a great player and being mentally strong. 2 different things, although one definitely does help the other.

Everyone is mentally vulnerable. Everyone at some point has exhibited something that you can nitpick to be a sign of mental weakness. That, however, does not define them as a player. I think Justine has shown more than she hasn't that her competitive heart is beyond tremendous with the mental fortitude to match.

Mental toughness is not just about winning and losing matches. It's about having the mentality of a champion. Justine could have just accepted her fate as a top 5-10 player when she couldn't close out bigger champions, instead she took on the challenge and decided to be the best in the world. That doesn't just mean hard work, but being mentally prepared to push yourself to your limits, and she did.

Justine could have very easily submitted to Serena after a devasting loss in the Miami final. Instead she defeated Serena in three straight GS QF and then bag a win over big sis, against whom she has a 1-7 H2H record.

Justine could have very easily allowed her deteriorating personal life after that divorce to define the rest of her year/career, instead she fought on and currently owns the rest of the tour despite missing 1/4 of the season. When over the course of your life you've encountered so many hardships, you could handily crumble, instead Justine plugs on and continues fight what she can. Unfortunately, anything that happens in your life will affect other parts of your life. Your mother dies, your family relation is severed, your grandfather dies, your marriage falls apart, all of this could have destroyed Justine's tennis career, but didn't. And that's not because she's great player with great skills, it's because she committed to being the best, mentally.

Justine has more than exemplified what it means to be mentality tough. Yes, it's true, she wasn't always tough and she isn't always going to be tough, but to say that she isn't PERIOD, is completely unreasonable.

Renalicious
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:15 AM
Henin is a great player but definately NOT a mentally tough one. The only match I can recall she really showed some toughness was the Myskina 04 Olympics SF. Other than that, she has choked, gave away leads, failed to serve out matches etc...

Here's my list...

1. Serena Williams (Not biased, I think it's just the truth. She has come back from being down so many times and mental toughness is the one thing she can rely on when her game isn't working.)

2. Seles

3. Evert

4. Venus

5. Graf

Honourable mention:

Shinobu Asagoe, but only for defeating Hantuchova in the way she did. That match was so memorable. Sad thing is, she didn't really do anything spectacular after that imo.

Worst mentally tough player:

Daniela Hantuchova by far. There have been sooooooo many times she has choked and blown leads such like 4-0.

LUIS9
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:21 AM
i get what you did, but chaky? :unsure: :lol:

I know, Anna has not even been playing long enough to be even considered mentally tough yet, what extreme mental test has she been subject to thus far in her young career? Besides she really has not played that huge match yet, she's yet to make a slam final where one's mental toughness is certainly put to the test. In fact I don't think she's mentally that strong yet, she is fiery and can get very mad at herself and these emotions get the better of her.

Wasn't she involved in a horrendous semifinal at this years US OPEN, just making errors left and right barely keeping the ball in play against was it Kuznetsova? That match was just pathetic it really gave the wta tour a bad reputation. :o That's a sign of mental weakness or being overwhelmed by the nerves.

spencercarlos
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:25 AM
I'll go from 1980 on because I've watched those years more.

I think the most clear indication of players that are truly mentally tough is the ability to not get shaken and come back when you're down, or win the big points in the big arenas. I think these players have proven records of mental toughness. Even when their game is off, they can power through. In my opinion it was the greatest weapon of Chanda and Mary Joe (if not the only real weapon they had). I also see Venus as being more mentally tough than Serena.

Top 10:

1. Monica Seles
2. Chanda Rubin
3. Mary Joe Fernandez
4. Steffi Graf
5. Chris Evert
6. Venus Williams
7. Helena Sukova
8. Andrea Jaeger
9. Aranxia Sanchez-Vicario
10. Martina Hingis (minus Roland Garros)

Honorable Mention:

Serena Williams
Conchita Martinez
Sandrine Testud
Kimiko Date


SF
Just because Chanda got saved from a big hole against Choko Jana at Roland Garros 1995, she did not have to do much there, Jana was making it easy for her missing shot after shot. Still kudos for her to save the match.

I would switch Graf with Mary Joe without a doubt, Graf saved some matches in grand slam finals when she was about to lose, that counts more. Althought Mary Joe had a great ability to play loose and really comeback from some difficult matches by playing very agressive too (eg Sabatini Rg 1993 Match 1-6 1-5 and Arantxa Usopen 1995 1-6 2-4 as her greatest examples).

Again obviously you are putting Venus way to high on that list, in fact Serena should be there instead. Venus saved matches against Hingis and Davenport to win 2 grand slams, but Serena did the same against Capriati, Sharapova and Clijsters to get 3 slams.

Don´t really get too much on why Sukova, Martinez, Testud are in your lists :lol:?

RJWCapriati
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:32 AM
Seles

LUIS9
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:41 AM
Seles and Graf will be linked for many things as tennis players, firstly for their fierce rivalry albeit short, their immense talent as tennis players and their mental toughness.

They certainly top the list of all time mentally tough tennis players. Evert I've heard was very mentally strong and by her records this is obvious but I was not around to watch her play during her playing days as a top player. I was born towards the end of her career unfortunately. ;)

spencercarlos
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:57 AM
Seles and Graf will be linked for many things as tennis players, firstly for their fierce rivalry albeit short, their immense talent as tennis players and their mental toughness.

They certainly top the list of all time mentally tough tennis players. Evert I've heard was very mentally strong and by her records this is obvious but I was not around to watch her play during her playing days as a top player. I was born towards the end of her career unfortunately. ;)
Pre Stabbing Monica was the toughest mentally without a doubt.

heytennis
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:59 AM
I just watched the Sharapova-Clijsters semi from the USO '05. Maria was incredibly tough and mentally strong then. She was down 0-40 (3 match points) and saved them. She then faced another two and still fought them off. If I were making this list last year, she would be near the top. However, this year, her weak serve has shaken her confidence (in my opinion). But she should still be mentioned for the moments of brilliant mental strength she has shown in the past. Even this year she fought off match points at RG.

mankind
Oct 5th, 2007, 04:01 AM
Everyone is mentally vulnerable. Everyone at some point has exhibited something that you can nitpick to be a sign of mental weakness. That, however, does not define them as a player. I think Justine has shown more than she hasn't that her competitive heart is beyond tremendous with the mental fortitude to match.

Mental toughness is not just about winning and losing matches. It's about having the mentality of a champion. Justine could have just accepted her fate as a top 5-10 player when she couldn't close out bigger champions, instead she took on the challenge and decided to be the best in the world. That doesn't just mean hard work, but being mentally prepared to push yourself to your limits, and she did.

Justine could have very easily submitted to Serena after a devasting loss in the Miami final. Instead she defeated Serena in three straight GS QF and then bag a win over big sis, against whom she has a 1-7 H2H record.

Justine could have very easily allowed her deteriorating personal life after that divorce to define the rest of her year/career, instead she fought on and currently owns the rest of the tour despite missing 1/4 of the season. When over the course of your life you've encountered so many hardships, you could handily crumble, instead Justine plugs on and continues fight what she can. Unfortunately, anything that happens in your life will affect other parts of your life. Your mother dies, your family relation is severed, your grandfather dies, your marriage falls apart, all of this could have destroyed Justine's tennis career, but didn't. And that's not because she's great player with great skills, it's because she committed to being the best, mentally.

Justine has more than exemplified what it means to be mentality tough. Yes, it's true, she wasn't always tough and she isn't always going to be tough, but to say that she isn't PERIOD, is completely unreasonable.

I accept that, but I still have my own opinion on the subject.

brent-o
Oct 5th, 2007, 04:41 AM
I just watched the Sharapova-Clijsters semi from the USO '05. Maria was incredibly tough and mentally strong then. She was down 0-40 (3 match points) and saved them. She then faced another two and still fought them off. If I were making this list last year, she would be near the top. However, this year, her weak serve has shaken her confidence (in my opinion). But she should still be mentioned for the moments of brilliant mental strength she has shown in the past. Even this year she fought off match points at RG.

I know and I remember back then thinking that was Maria's biggest advantage over the competition and thinking she could never lose it. And I don't even really like her, I've just always respected her for her belief in herself.

Volcana
Oct 5th, 2007, 05:26 AM
1.) Evert. Think of how often players freak out when someone moves to net. Now think of how many players did that to Chrissie. She never freaked out. And she would hit about 5 errors a match, tops. That's mental toughness personified.

2.) Graf. She pulled herself together a whole lot of times, she came from behind a whole lot of times, and she did it by sticking to her strengths. That's hard to do.

3.) Seles. She came back after the stabbing, not as good as before but still pretty damn good. She also never got down on herself in a match.

4.) Serena Williams. This one's tricky because she's still playing, and she has hit a rough patch, but the fact remains she's lost only around 30 matches to players who haven't won slams. That's a stunning number, especially since you'd think people who have nothing to lose would try harder. Plus, there's no player who has willed herself to win as much as Serena Williams has.

5.) This one comes out of left field, so brace yourselves: Maria Bueno. She was entirely self-taught. How crazy is that? Also she came from nowhere; nobody had any clue who she was when she started winning things, and she didn't stop winning things for a long, long time. Also, she was the only player I've ever seen (DVD) who could make Margaret Court look foolish on court. That's an accomplishment.

I question whether Seles should be in the top five, because a mentally tough player wouldn't have let herself get that fat. (I am conceding the uniquely traumatic nature of what she went through, but check her out on her tour with Nav. She's like 40 pounds lighter than in 2001.)

However, anybody who knows tennis well enough to include Maria Bueno, clearly knows what they're talking about, so I'm going to go with your list, and your judgement.

Martian Willow
Oct 5th, 2007, 05:32 AM
Bartoli.

OsloErik
Oct 5th, 2007, 05:59 AM
I question whether Seles should be in the top five, because a mentally tough player wouldn't have let herself get that fat. (And check he rout on her tour with Nav. She's like 40 pounds lighter than in 2001.)

However, anybody who knows tennis well enough to include Maria Bueno, clearly knows what they're talking about, so I'm going to go with your list, and your judgement.

Haha, thanks for the respect. I was a big fan of Maria Bueno, my uncle had some old footage of her winning slams, and I was absolutely stunned when I learned she was self taught. The fact that she could beat players that had that much more training is astounding, even to this day. Who nowadays comes close? Akgul? Call me when she wins slams. There was so much natural talent there, and for her to come through without any support from her national federation in a time when that was unheard of is why I put her on the list.

As for Seles, I reduced her from a strong #2 (pre-stabbing) to a weak #3 (post-stabbing) which is certainly debatable both ways. Pre-stabbing, she was probably the strongest player mentally on tour at the time. Post-stabbing, she did slip quite a bit, but for very understandable reasons. I think to raise or lower her is a variable entirely dependent on whether you like her or not.

And you didn't bring this up, but enough people have neglected Evert that I thought I'd throw in my two cents worth:

Chris Evert is the consummate mental tennis player. If you look at her game, she played with virtually no weaponry. Her backhand is acclaimed because it was so technically accurate, so precise, and because she was the first who could hit inside out backhands with two hands. But it wasn't a powerful shot in the way Navratilova's one-hander was. Evert had no single shot that would hit winner after winner in a baseline exchange, which almost all players have nowadays. All she had was an ability to hit safe shots and never mess up; think of her like a backboard with an irregular surface. She got almost everything back, and she got it back with a little variety, but not so much so that it would throw you off entirely. Even her movement was only very good; Navratilova moved better in every direction. So did Court and King. She had anticipation a la Andy Murray (or he has anticipation a la Evert), but that's not exactly a weapon.

Another factor Evert had to deal with was the huge number of net players. Think of what throws off Roger Federer, or Justine Henin, or anyone; if someone comes in on them, the are pressured to hit a passing shot, and they cannot mess up. If they mess up, their opponent will win the point in a way that a weak groundstroke doesn't necessarily mandate. If you hit an error, you lose the point. If you give them a sitter, they win the point. You have to hit the perfect shot. Evert did that up to 40 times a match, up to 5 matches a week, for over 15 years. She alone of the top 10 GOATs had to deal with that from the baseline. For her to succeed in that, despite having no true weapons, is nothing short of remarkable. If she had been even a tick less reliable mentally, she would have been a footnote (something like, a good clay courter of the 70's and 80's, reached a bunch of finals, won now and then) to the Navratilova legacy. Instead, she is one half of the greatest tennis rivalry in history.

sfselesfan
Oct 5th, 2007, 06:04 AM
Just because Chanda got saved from a big hole against Choko Jana at Roland Garros 1995, she did not have to do much there, Jana was making it easy for her missing shot after shot. Still kudos for her to save the match.

I would switch Graf with Mary Joe without a doubt, Graf saved some matches in grand slam finals when she was about to lose, that counts more. Althought Mary Joe had a great ability to play loose and really comeback from some difficult matches by playing very agressive too (eg Sabatini Rg 1993 Match 1-6 1-5 and Arantxa Usopen 1995 1-6 2-4 as her greatest examples).

Again obviously you are putting Venus way to high on that list, in fact Serena should be there instead. Venus saved matches against Hingis and Davenport to win 2 grand slams, but Serena did the same against Capriati, Sharapova and Clijsters to get 3 slams.

Don´t really get too much on why Sukova, Martinez, Testud are in your lists :lol:?

Typical SpencerCarlos post. Where's your list so I can annihilate it? Will you include Sabatini? :lol:

Put up or shut up...

SF

CORIA01
Oct 5th, 2007, 06:45 AM
Seles
Graf
Henin
Sharapova

A Magicman
Oct 5th, 2007, 07:05 AM
Graf & Evert-Lloyd-Mill-Norman tied on first placewith Seles in close 3rd place. I'm following tennis for almost 25 years now and I really gotta say that these 3 are way above the others.

stickwitju(ju)
Oct 5th, 2007, 07:07 AM
1. Seles
2. Serena
3. Steffi
4. Hingis
5. ASV

:rocker2:

Zhao
Oct 5th, 2007, 07:16 AM
i am surprised that no one mentiones Jennifer Capriati :eek:

Marc23
Oct 5th, 2007, 08:19 AM
Navratilova once said that if her life would depend on a tennis match she would send Steffi Graf to play for her. . .

The Dawntreader
Oct 5th, 2007, 08:40 AM
1. Seles- Pre stabbing, she was indomitable mentally. Even Graf, couldnt not wilt Seles in big match scenarios. Seles showed all her worth in that 92 RG final. It just justified her mental superiority over the peers.

2. Graf- So strong in the crunch was Steffi. That Wimby final against Vicario was so evident of her mental toughness. That 20 minute game would've been Vicario's against any other player, but graf just produces the right points at the right time. I think Steffi had the best shot selection when in trouble, she just knew how to win back those points.

3. Evert/Navratilova- Both were mentally tough, maybe Evert moreso than Navratilova. martina didnt really have a mental grip over everyone else, because her talent just beat everyone. Evert's opponents probably felt they had more chances to beat her, but Evert was just poles apart mentally from about 95% of the tour. Especially on clay, there's been noone better mentally.

4. Serena Williams- The most intense competitor ever, and is a mental giant. Has come back from seemingly lost depths and has always remained a champion. She's one player you would want to play for your life. She's just a fighter til the end:worship:

5. Venus Williams- Who else could save a matchpoint with a winner in a wimby final. When it really matters, this woman comes through:D

DA FOREHAND
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:16 PM
1. Evert- best ever mentally, never showed any emotion and was able to regroup quickly.

2. Seles- before the stabbing she was almost unbeatable.


3. Graf- after Monica left who did Graf have to beat ASV :lol:
4. Serena- '03 and '05 Oz Open are a clear indicator

5. Hingis- despite her breakdown at the French, Hingis was very good mentally. She walked out onto the court with the attitude she would win and most of the time she did.

Please point out one year in which Seles was almost unbeatable. Did she ever end a full season w/fewer than five losses?

I think those are def. great examples of Serena's mental toughness, but her triumph at IW over Kim and the KKK in the stands trumps both.:worship: :worship:

DA FOREHAND
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:25 PM
Everyone is mentally vulnerable. Everyone at some point has exhibited something that you can nitpick to be a sign of mental weakness. That, however, does not define them as a player. I think Justine has shown more than she hasn't that her competitive heart is beyond tremendous with the mental fortitude to match.

Mental toughness is not just about winning and losing matches. It's about having the mentality of a champion. Justine could have just accepted her fate as a top 5-10 player when she couldn't close out bigger champions, instead she took on the challenge and decided to be the best in the world. That doesn't just mean hard work, but being mentally prepared to push yourself to your limits, and she did.

Justine could have very easily submitted to Serena after a devasting loss in the Miami final. Instead she defeated Serena in three straight GS QF and then bag a win over big sis, against whom she has a 1-7 H2H record.

Justine could have very easily allowed her deteriorating personal life after that divorce to define the rest of her year/career, instead she fought on and currently owns the rest of the tour despite missing 1/4 of the season. When over the course of your life you've encountered so many hardships, you could handily crumble, instead Justine plugs on and continues fight what she can. Unfortunately, anything that happens in your life will affect other parts of your life. Your mother dies, your family relation is severed, your grandfather dies, your marriage falls apart, all of this could have destroyed Justine's tennis career, but didn't. And that's not because she's great player with great skills, it's because she committed to being the best, mentally.

Justine has more than exemplified what it means to be mentality tough. Yes, it's true, she wasn't always tough and she isn't always going to be tough, but to say that she isn't PERIOD, is completely unreasonable.

tough don't quit in grand slam finals for a tummy ache. tough doesn't look scared playing Marion Bartoli. No offense to Bartoli fans as she beat the hell out of Justine, and Carlos couldn't coach her out of that hole.

KennyChante4ever
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:34 PM
Serena - her self-belief is off the charts!
Monica - pre-stabbing you could pencil her in for the finals every time
Steffi - see Monica but Monica was the one who made Steffi vulnerable
Navratilova - ruled most of the 80's
Hingis - all those weeks at $1 speaks volumes about her mental toughness

i am surprised that no one mentiones Jennifer Capriati :eek:

I'm not surprised because Jennifer was fragile at times especially at the Grand Slams.

homogenius
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:37 PM
Please point out one year in which Seles was almost unbeatable. Did she ever end a full season w/fewer than five losses?

I think those are def. great examples of Serena's mental toughness, but her triumph at IW over Kim and the KKK in the stands trumps both.:worship: :worship:

Seles was indeed almost unbeatable in 1992.She finished the year with a 70-5 record, 3 slams and a final at Wimbledon, and won the masters.Her losses were all in finals except a 1/4 against Capriati in Miami, and the others able to beat her were only top players : Sabatini, Graf, Sanchez and Navratilova.

DA FOREHAND
Oct 5th, 2007, 12:39 PM
Seles was indeed almost unbeatable in 1992.She finished the year with a 70-5 record, 3 slams and a final at Wimbledon, and won the masters.Her losses were all in finals except a 1/4 against Capriati in Miami, and the others able to beat her were only top players : Sabatini, Graf, Sanchez and Navratilova.

losing 1 or 2 matches in a year is almost unbeatable. Monica never came close to that. What's Monica's longest consecutive winnning streak?:wavey:

homogenius
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:01 PM
losing 1 or 2 matches in a year is almost unbeatable. Monica never came close to that. What's Monica's longest consecutive winnning streak?:wavey:

It's not far of the Graf of 1988 for example (72-3) and it's better that Serena's best year in 2002.Anyway, I won't argue on the "almost", because something tells me that all that will finish in the repetitive Seles/Graf debate and I have better things to do.
Back to the topic, I answered to your post because I think that unbeatable or not, Seles was the most mentally tough player ever before the stabbing.Her win at FO in 1992 against Graf in one of the best women's match ever, was just impressive.

Volcana
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:02 PM
In other sports, toughness is considered to be the ability to hold your performance level despite adversity. A quarterback getting sacked ten times a game, but continuing to pass accurately, for example. By that particular measure, it's hard to put anyone except Evert ahead of Graf. The last six or seven years of her career were injury ridden, but she won seven slams after age 25.

As for Evert, see OsloErik's explanation.

DA FOREHAND
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:07 PM
In other sports, toughness is considered to be the ability to hold your performance level despite adversity. A quarterback getting sacked ten times a game, but continuing to pass accurately, for example. By that particular measure, it's hard to put anyone except Evert ahead of Graf. The last six or seven years of her career were injury ridden, but she won seven slams after age 25.

As for Evert, see OsloErik's explanation.

i would have to agree w/your statement for sure. It's easy to be mentally tough when everythings going your way. How do you respond when it appears the entire staduim is against you? IW?

homogenius
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:12 PM
In other sports, toughness is considered to be the ability to hold your performance level despite adversity. A quarterback getting sacked ten times a game, but continuing to pass accurately, for example. By that particular measure, it's hard to put anyone except Evert ahead of Graf. The last six or seven years of her career were injury ridden, but she won seven slams after age 25.

As for Evert, see OsloErik's explanation.

I agreed with that, it's why I wrote "before the stabbing".The few years before that, Seles won the mental battle against Graf who had the reputation of being the best and the tougher ever (8 slams bla bla).After that she showed some mental toughness in her comeback but she was never really the same.

Philbo
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:13 PM
1) Chris Evert. Without a doubt in my mind the toughest player mentally ever..

2) Monica Seles - Never seen a player come out swinging when down matchpoint like Monica. Some players would go into their shell and play tentative but Monica came out swinging harder.. This was revolutionary at the time..

3) Serena Williams - Ive seen Serena win so many matches on guts/determination/fightinging spirit alone. Even when she is overweight, injured and crowd against her she can come through on her mental toughness - someone else posted Venus was mentally tougher but I would totally disagree - if Venus game isnt working, she just blasts herself off court, she doesnt scrap it out and win ugly like Serena can

4) Steffi Graf - My nemesis, cannot stand her but have to give some credit for the amount of times she would come back from losing positions to win. She was quite intimidating, and although her game has hole and weaknesses that her opponents could attack to get to winning positions in, Graf's mental toughness made her opponent choke so many times and she was able to come back..

5) Justine Henin - Henin is fast rising up my list. Her performances this year against Serena in 3 slams shows a vastly improved mental toughness and Justine really is the most hungry player of her generation. She could well end her career higher up my rankings

homogenius
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:15 PM
i would have to agree w/your statement for sure. It's easy to be mentally tough when everythings going your way. How do you respond when it appears the entire staduim is against you? IW?

Serena was brave that day and is one of the most mentally tough ever, no doubt.Still, according to Volcana criteria's, she was not so tough in 2003 FO semi against Henin, or in some matches this year for example.

Philbo
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:17 PM
My definition of mental toughness is all about what happens on court - I disagree with the notion of Monica's weight problems being a slur on her mental toughness.

If you include off court mental toughness I would change my rankings entirely - Navratilova would be in the top 5 for how determined she was and drove herself to reach her full potential - Serena wouldnt make my top 5 because I see her as half-arsed in her total commitment to tennis..

So for me, definition of mental toughness is ALL about what happens once on court and on court only.

homogenius
Oct 5th, 2007, 01:18 PM
My definition of mental toughness is all about what happens on court - I disagree with the notion of Monica's weight problems being a slur on her mental toughness.

If you include off court mental toughness I would change my rankings entirely - Navratilova would be in the top 5 for how determined she was and drove herself to reach her full potential - Serena wouldnt make my top 5 because I see her as half-arsed in her total commitment to tennis..

So for me, definition of mental toughness is ALL about what happens once on court and on court only.

I agreed.

shap_half
Oct 5th, 2007, 03:52 PM
i would have to agree w/your statement for sure. It's easy to be mentally tough when everythings going your way. How do you respond when it appears the entire staduim is against you? IW?

Like for exampled the 2003 US SF against Capriati, where you can mix in the added pressure of relinquishing a first set lead, facing cramps and ridiculous accusations of taking "appropriately" timed medical time outs?

I know not the same thing as IW, but that USO SF could not have been that easy to win.

OsloErik
Oct 5th, 2007, 09:17 PM
i would have to agree w/your statement for sure. It's easy to be mentally tough when everythings going your way. How do you respond when it appears the entire staduim is against you? IW?

Well, if that's a criterion (is that the right word? My English is sometimes a little :help: ) then I think Navratilova should be higher on your (and everyone's) lists. She wasn't popular anywhere until maybe 1994, and that was just because nobody gave a fling f*** about Conchita at Wimbledon (sorry, Conchi fans, but she has to be the most "where did that come from?" Wimbledon winner, not because she didn't deserve a slam, but because nobody thought she'd do it on grass before clay, or instead of clay). Plus, having to restrict where you played due to fear of having to land in a Communist country and being imprisoned? Martina dealt with all of that. She and Ivan Lendl were the most hated champions on the tour during the 80's, and in a way that Serena doesn't regularly have to deal with. Indian Wells was bad, and so was that one guy at Miami this year, but she doesn't deal with people cheering her errors and always rooting for her opponent at every tournament she plays.

OsloErik
Oct 5th, 2007, 09:26 PM
Everyone is mentally vulnerable. Everyone at some point has exhibited something that you can nitpick to be a sign of mental weakness. That, however, does not define them as a player. I think Justine has shown more than she hasn't that her competitive heart is beyond tremendous with the mental fortitude to match.

Mental toughness is not just about winning and losing matches. It's about having the mentality of a champion. Justine could have just accepted her fate as a top 5-10 player when she couldn't close out bigger champions, instead she took on the challenge and decided to be the best in the world. That doesn't just mean hard work, but being mentally prepared to push yourself to your limits, and she did.

Justine could have very easily submitted to Serena after a devasting loss in the Miami final. Instead she defeated Serena in three straight GS QF and then bag a win over big sis, against whom she has a 1-7 H2H record.

Justine could have very easily allowed her deteriorating personal life after that divorce to define the rest of her year/career, instead she fought on and currently owns the rest of the tour despite missing 1/4 of the season. When over the course of your life you've encountered so many hardships, you could handily crumble, instead Justine plugs on and continues fight what she can. Unfortunately, anything that happens in your life will affect other parts of your life. Your mother dies, your family relation is severed, your grandfather dies, your marriage falls apart, all of this could have destroyed Justine's tennis career, but didn't. And that's not because she's great player with great skills, it's because she committed to being the best, mentally.

Justine has more than exemplified what it means to be mentality tough. Yes, it's true, she wasn't always tough and she isn't always going to be tough, but to say that she isn't PERIOD, is completely unreasonable.

That's a very good post. And I agree with it for the most part. There are times when Henin has these intense, earth-mother, warrior moments (Olympics '04, US Open '03, FO '05, etc.). And for that she should be commended. But there are also times when she looks like she lacks the belief to win the match. The length it took her to close out against Serena and Venus at the US this year, or against Serena at Miami, or against Bartoli at Wimbledon, is part of why she isn't as rock solid as the players on my list.

That being said, it's very hard to judge her while her career is still in full flight. She's definitely not slipping in my rankings, which has her pretty solidly in the top 10. But she needs a few more warrior moments to get into the top 5, and to cut down on the mental problems.

What's optimistic about this is how open she has become about discussing her nerves in matches. It means she's learning about them, which is something I which a few other players would do. So I think it's a little soon to be putting her in the top 5, but she's heading in the right direction.

If, however, you include off-court mental strength (which catapults Navratilova and Court to the top of the rankings) then Henin is certainly in the top 5. She transformed from Hingis-lite to Uber Hingis, and made tennis the better for it, in a way no other player has physically transformed mid-career since Navratilova got in shape after "the defection". I can see that argument being made.

Apoleb
Oct 5th, 2007, 09:45 PM
I'm sorry I offended you by having an opinion.
Justine is the best player in the world, of course she can win big matches and big points. But a lot of the times that I have seen her play she has appeared mentally vulnerable. I wouldn't put her up the top for the most mentally strong of all time, but I would definitely put her up there for having the greatest skills of a tennis player of all time.

I think people in here are getting confused between being a great player and being mentally strong. 2 different things, although one definitely does help the other.

Well, ridiculous opinions do offend me. Sorry.

I don't think anyone is confused here besides yourself. You didn't say that you wouldn't put her among the mentally strong of all time (something that I would probably agree with anyway); you said she's "extremely mentally weak on court." Anyone who has remotely followed Justine across the years knows that she does have her weak moments and days, especially in situations when she's leading, but she also showed too many times how almost unhuman she is mental wise.

Anyway, when it comes to criticism of her mentality against the WS in the US Open, it's true, she did play more tentative when she lead. But she more than made up for that when it was close. She saved a set point with her best second serve, and played her best tennis in the tie break, serving an ace in each breaker. Again, you don't do that if you're mentally weak.

Steffica Greles
Oct 5th, 2007, 09:54 PM
Names that spring to mind: (in no order)

Steffi Graf (She had a clinical efficiency and briskness that is inimitable)

Monica Seles (Probably the most intense and focused there's ever been before the stabbing, but you do have to ask questions as to why a player who was 'mentally tough' came back to the tour and never really got into shape. What does that say about her approach to the game?)

Aranxta-Sanchez-Vicario (Probably the most dogged and tenacious player there ever will be.)

Justine Henin (Possesses a single-minded steeliness, and turns negatives into positives.)

Serena Williams (Although, it's questionable; her game should have brought her far more titles, and her grandslam record is patchy for a player of her standing. Nonetheless, she's a great fighter.)

Venus Williams (Same as above. It's easy to be mentally tough when you're so much better than your opponent. So why do Serena and Venus lose so often?)

Chris Evert (Just a relentless desire to keep on and on and on winning matches)

Martina Navratilova (Questionable, because of her many losses in close matches. But there was a determination to Martina which always saw her through.)

Lindsay Davenport (What?!? I hear people ask. Lindsay has a simple philosophy which has been the secret to her longevity. She keeps things simple and doesn't beat herself up over losses. Her equanimity may sometimes have been her undoing, leaving her devoid of killer-instinct in crucial situations, but on balance I would argue that it has seen her through far more difficult situations than the reverse.)



For people to include Maria Sharapova is just laughable. I can think of countless times when the girl has collapsed. Some people seem to mistake grimacing, screaching and pouting for mental robustness and fortitude. :lol:

jujufreak
Oct 5th, 2007, 09:58 PM
Also, I want to comment on why Henin isn't in my list. To me, the 2006 AO final disqualifies her from consideration in this category completely. Just how I feel about it.

SF

what :bs: is that :rolleyes: that has nothing to do with mental toughness, do you have the semi final match of the Olympics '04? THAT's mental toughness and she has proven it in lots of other matches too. Just how I feel about it.

Steffica Greles
Oct 5th, 2007, 10:05 PM
Martina had a million weapons, and yes she was relatively mentally tough. But she was not top tier. She got very emotional and beat herself up too much in my opinion. When you look at her game overall, I'd say mental toughness is actually one of her weaknesses in comparison to her other gifts.

Also, I want to comment on why Henin isn't in my list. To me, the 2006 AO final disqualifies her from consideration in this category completely. Just how I feel about it.

SF

I agree with you about Martina. Her game alone was enough to carry her to the top, and her love of the sport kept her fighting on until her late 30s. She was not 'weak' mentally, as you rightly suggest. But she was certainly far from invincible in that area.

For example, she could plausibly have won three more French Open titles, but lost the final of '85 and '86 to Evert, from positions in which she could have won, and went down in even more of a nail-biter against Graf in '87, when she had been four points from victory.

There are other matches Martina could have won which would have brought her grandslam tally above Graf's, had she held Graf's ability to 'get the job done'.

However, I disagree with your stance on Henin, although in my reactive anger I might have concurred in early 2006.

Justine did what she felt that she had to do in that final; she put responsibilities to the tournament, to her coach, to her fans, to her opponent to one side and thought purely of herself in such a situation. And it's that single-mindedness which has made her a champion.

No, I think Justine demonstrated a great degree of mental strength in retiring from the Australian Open final of 2006. A pleasant or desirable sight it was not, but neither was it an easy thing to do. And she did it.

The Daviator
Oct 5th, 2007, 10:18 PM
Lindsay Davenport (What?!? I hear people ask. Lindsay has a simple philosophy which has been the secret to her longevity. She keeps things simple and doesn't beat herself up over losses. Her equanimity may sometimes have been her undoing, leaving her devoid of killer-instinct in crucial situations, but on balance I would argue that it has seen her through far more difficult situations than the reverse.)

I'm glad someone mentioned Lindsay, to a lot of people, 'mental toughness' is saving match points or making big comebacks, but there are different ways of being tough mentally, Lindsay has had a lot of heartbreaking defeats, but she's brushed them all off, and was always in the second week of majors, she's reached the 4th round or better in her last 20 Slams, no-one else can say that...

Wtaa
Oct 5th, 2007, 11:52 PM
It's not far of the Graf of 1988 for example (72-3) and it's better that Serena's best year in 2002.Anyway, I won't argue on the "almost", because something tells me that all that will finish in the repetitive Seles/Graf debate and I have better things to do.
Back to the topic, I answered to your post because I think that unbeatable or not, Seles was the most mentally tough player ever before the stabbing.Her win at FO in 1992 against Graf in one of the best women's match ever, was just impressive.

I agree with you post. Monica Seles epitomised mental toughness. I have never seen anyone hitting so many outright winners at crucial moments. Steffi could get jumpy with her forehand.

OsloErik
Oct 6th, 2007, 12:03 AM
I'm glad someone mentioned Lindsay, to a lot of people, 'mental toughness' is saving match points or making big comebacks, but there are different ways of being tough mentally, Lindsay has had a lot of heartbreaking defeats, but she's brushed them all off, and was always in the second week of majors, she's reached the 4th round or better in her last 20 Slams, no-one else can say that...

I also think Davenport qualifies as being mentally tough in an on-court perspective as well. There aren't a whole lot of #1s who have such a clearly visible weakness as Davenport (only Hingis and Evert's serves come to mind), and yet virtually nobody could consistently exploit Davenport's movement. That's a testament in itself to how deceptively positive she stayed during matches. She didn't let opponents winners get her down, and that's hard to do.

Wtaa
Oct 6th, 2007, 12:14 AM
Monica Seles (Probably the most intense and focused there's ever been before the stabbing,

Seles had all the tools to be the greatest ever. She had a great rival which in my book you need. She was the mentally toughest player I've ever seen. I've seen all the best show some weakness at one point or another, but never Seles. She stood there and traded with anybody. She took the ball on the rise and never backed away.

She was still a teenager when the incident happened. One with a bunch of Slams victories. We might have been watching the greatest player ever.

cc1228
Oct 7th, 2007, 05:11 AM
Hands down.....

1) Monica Seles- She hit harder when the points mattered most..and made the shot. She never got down on herself or barely EVER questioned line calls. She just played. Great mental focus and pure GUTS!!!! :worship:


2) Graf- Though she never really had to dig deep down becuase she won so easily most the time.

3) Evert- More in the early years. Towards the end she got frustrated more and you knew it.



just a side note. Hingis was mentioned in a few posts and this cracks me up. This is the girl who would throw her racket and make big fusses when things didn't go her way. Pure immaturity on the court. She showed NO mental toughness at all.

R&J
Oct 7th, 2007, 06:07 AM
Monica Seles (Probably the most intense and focused there's ever been before the stabbing, but you do have to ask questions as to why a player who was 'mentally tough' came back to the tour and never really got into shape. What does that say about her approach to the game?)



That maybe she truly just loved to play tennis - she always said she never played tennis for the money, titles, or fame, but because she just loved to play. Even though she wasn't in the best shape that she could have been in 1995, she just wanted to come back and play tennis again. So what does that say about her approach to the game? I don't know, that maybe she just loved to play tennis win or lose - and even then she was still one of the best in the world (even when she was a step slower then before).

Andy T
Oct 7th, 2007, 06:42 AM
Billie Jean King HAS to be on this list! So do Helen Wills, Suzanne Lenglen & Mo Connolly. To them I'd add Seles & Evert.

~{X}~
Oct 7th, 2007, 08:31 AM
I have heard many times from commentators and players that Monica Seles was the mentally toughest tennis player of all time. If you watch the Monica Seles vs. Venus Williams Australian Open 2002 Quarter-Final, Cliff Drysdale and Pam Shriver(Or Mary Joe) talk about it and say Seles is the mentally toughest ever, not even Evert or Graf were mentally tougher. :worship:

OsloErik
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:02 AM
bump, we're talking about the same thing in another thread

micah63
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:35 PM
1. Evert
2. Seles
3. Serena
4. Henin
5. Sharapova


Which of these players won 4 slam finals although her opponent had served for the match?
:wavey:

micah63
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:42 PM
Hands down.....

1) Monica Seles- She hit harder when the points mattered most..and made the shot. She never got down on herself or barely EVER questioned line calls. She just played. Great mental focus and pure GUTS!!!! :worship:


2) Graf- Though she never really had to dig deep down becuase she won so easily most the time. ...

Graf was down 3-5 in the third set of the FO 87 final.
Graf was down 5-7 0-2 against Navratilova in the Wimbledon 89 final.
Graf was down 4-6 2-4 against Navratilova in the USO 89 final.
Graf had Sabatini serving for the match twice in the Wimbledon 91 final.
Graf was down 3-4 in the third set in the FO 93 final with Fernandez serving.
Graf was down 1-4 30-40 with Novotna serving in the third set of the Wimbledon 93 final.
Graf was down 4-5 and 6-7 in the third set of the FO 96 final with Sanchez serving.
Graf was down 4-6 4-5 with Hingis serving in the FO 99 final.

No, Graf never really had to dig deep down ........
:haha: :haha: :haha:

micah63
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:45 PM
I have heard many times from commentators and players that Monica Seles was the mentally toughest tennis player of all time. If you watch the Monica Seles vs. Venus Williams Australian Open 2002 Quarter-Final, Cliff Drysdale and Pam Shriver(Or Mary Joe) talk about it and say Seles is the mentally toughest ever, not even Evert or Graf were mentally tougher. :worship:


For 2.5 years only.
If we lt 2.5 years be enough then I'd prefer Graf of 87/89.
She turned around 3 slam finals against the great Navratilova in those years. :worship:

micah63
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:47 PM
That maybe she truly just loved to play tennis - she always said she never played tennis for the money, titles, or fame, but because she just loved to play.

:worship:
I simply hate all the other players who always say they play only for the money, titles or fame. :mad:

R&J
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:07 PM
1) Seles
2) Evert
3) Graf
4) Navratilova
5) Serena

Vamos.
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:16 PM
mankind is spot on...

Justine is one of, on her own, the most mentally weak players out there. But with Carlos she becomes quite strong. ON HER OWN, she is quite appalling. She glances at Carlos after EVERY point, which is just embarassing for a number one. And the glances look so timid/afraid too.

Some matches she has lost is just :o

The cold sores, everything. She is mentally weak in this sense. But she makes up for it with the help of Carlos and her dogged determination. It makes you respect her more, if anything.

Highlandman
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:20 PM
I think Steffi Graf :p

micah63
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:26 PM
mankind is spot on...

Justine is one of, on her own, the most mentally weak players out there. But with Carlos she becomes quite strong. ON HER OWN, she is quite appalling. She glances at Carlos after EVERY point, which is just embarassing for a number one. And the glances look so timid/afraid too.

Some matches she has lost is just :o

The cold sores, everything. She is mentally weak in this sense. But she makes up for it with the help of Carlos and her dogged determination. It makes you respect her more, if anything.


Your name eptomises your analytic capabilities ... :tape:

samn
Oct 23rd, 2007, 11:14 AM
So many posts and not one mention of the pitbull aka Tracy Austin? By the time I started watching tennis (1982), her career was effectively over, but wasn't she considered one of the toughest players of the late 70s by her peers? I've heard the term "tough as nails" used to describe Austin by more than one player. (The only exception being Pam Shriver, who rather ridiculously called Austin a coward for being "scared of injuries and staying away from tennis because she didn't have the courage to come back".)

patricktav2003
Oct 24th, 2007, 01:55 AM
for me Graf<
navratilova<
seles
serena!
arantxa
are the best that i know

OsloErik
Oct 24th, 2007, 06:39 AM
So many posts and not one mention of the pitbull aka Tracy Austin? By the time I started watching tennis (1982), her career was effectively over, but wasn't she considered one of the toughest players of the late 70s by her peers? I've heard the term "tough as nails" used to describe Austin by more than one player. (The only exception being Pam Shriver, who rather ridiculously called Austin a coward for being "scared of injuries and staying away from tennis because she didn't have the courage to come back".)

Yeah, she was very much a mentally tough player when she was first coming through and for the 3+ years she was in the top 5, but it's hard to gauge it because her career was so short, and she didn't come back very well from injury. Granted, she had some pretty awful injuries, but she was never anywhere near the same level of intensity and focus.