By David Packman
Meditation Australia member David Packman had the opportunity to speak to tennis legend (and Lavazza ambassador) Andre Agassi during the recent Australian Open and he brought up the concept of mindfulness and meditation. Here is what the former world No.1 and eight-time Grand Slam champion had to say:
“When I played, as you look at the ebbs and flows of my career, the times when I was more at peace with myself and in harmony with my mission, my perspective, my objective, the more I got out of myself.
“You have to leave emotion in the locker room. When you play a tennis match, you play hundreds of points and, at the end of the match, there is inevitably one or two points that made the difference. If you are in the moment, you are not – and nor should you ever be – aware of what those points are while they are happening because they are never the points that you think they are going to be.
“The more you can be present on every point, the more you can execute without hesitation and without pressing. I think that’s why you see great champions separate themselves at the end of a set or at the end of a match, because they are the ones that aren’t changing in their execution.
“They are not assigning a value to any one point more than another. It is about what they do point after point. I can understand that whatever gets you into that kind of headspace would be a tremendous asset.”
Now over a decade on from his retirement, Agassi also discussed the life learnings that he had derived from the many years of operating in the high-pressure environment of professional tennis.
“In tennis, you get immediate feedback, in life you don’t. But I have enough experience to know that you can achieve anything – physically, objectively. You just need the knowledge, you need to be doing the right things, you need the consistency, and you need the patience to allow things to play out.
“In life, I think it’s hard to have all three of those when you’re questioning if you’re doing the right thing. Tennis has taught me the discipline of gathering information, planning your work, working your plan, doing everything consistently, and having the patience to see the result.
“I attribute that to everything I learned in the immediate feedback environment on the tennis court.”