Every Monday we will share some key insights from the top players past and present.
This week, use confidence to your advantage like Gabriela Sabatini. Gabriela is now retired but she was a gifted all court tennis player. Sabatini was the winner of 1 grand slam title and had the career-high ranking of number 3 in the world.
Gabriela was known for her beautiful one-handed backhand, her aggressive topspin and later in her career, her attacking and net game. She won her matches by outmaneuvering her opponents with heavy topspin and slice.
Unfortunately for Sabatini, she played during a time when both Steffi Graf and Monica Seles were playing at or near their peak. In spite of having to play against 2 all-time greats, Gabriela realized if she worked hard and changed her game from that of a baseliner into more of an all court attacking style of play she would have her chances.
This style change worked for her particularly in the final of the 1990 US Open. Leading up to the 1990 final, Graf had been dominating Sabatini in their head to head matchups. Sabatini knew she had to do something different. The day of the final she played much more aggressively than usual. This surprised Graf and gave Gabriela confidence. She "took advantage of her confidence," and kept applying pressure to Graf by coming to the net more and more. Her gamble paid off. Sabatini won her first and only grand slam. 6-2, 7-6.
We can all learn from the 1990 US Open final. Graf was dominating Sabatini in their match-ups. Gabriela switched things up much to the surprise of Graf. This threw Graf off of her game and gave Gabriela that added confidence to win her first and only grand slam.
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