Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have won 31 Grand Slams between them and agree there is no room for shyness on court if you want to make it big on the professional tennis tour.
Swiss great Federer is one of the most accomplished players to pick up a racquet and feels that being an extrovert has helped him achieve his goals — winning more than 1,000 tour games and 17 Grand Slams.
He said being outgoing on court helped make it easier to face the pressure points, compared to an introvert who might have to work a bit harder to succeed.
“It is a good question,” he said.
“You would think an introvert is not ready to take huge risks, but then again he might be very thoughtful and play very well-constructed points, won’t go for the silly shot.
AFP / William West
Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after defeating Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny in an Australian Open match in Melbourne on January 19, 2015
“So I guess it really depends what kind of game you have.
“But I like the idea when you’re young and you’re fearless, you give it a shot and just go big and take it away from your opponent. That’s kind of how I felt, how I did it sometimes.”
The approach has worked well for the 33-year-old, although he pointed to his old rival and friend Lleyton Hewitt as a more introverted player who also succeeded, winning two Grand Slams and still going in his 19th Australian Open.
“If you look at Lleyton, who wasn’t quite like that, he was more constructive in his points. He had much more success early on. So I don’t know.”
Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam winner, confesses to being shy as a youngster but said he quickly learned that when in front of the crowd there was no room to be meek.
“I was really shy when I was a kid. I started on the tour very early, at 16, and I was very shy,” he said.
“Well, I was not shy playing on court. That’s the most important thing. You can be shy in life, but obviously when you are going on court, when you are competing, you compete. You cannot be shy.
“At the end it is obvious if you are shy playing, probably you will be in trouble.
“You can be shy outside, but on court, you are by yourself.”