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Five Personal Development Lessons for Great Success from the U. S. Open 2010

Dr. Oladele Akin-Ogundeji
President, Psychology Associates & OD Synergy (www.odsynergy.com)

You can achieve great success! Here are five lessons on personal development for great success you can learn from the U. S. Open.

1. Focusing on what really matters for future great success

On Saturday September 11, 2010, Vera Zvonareva lost the Women Singles final of the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows in New York 2-6, 1-6 to Kim Clijsters.

If her assessment was correct and she acts on what she learnt from the match, Zvonareva would be on her way to future success. For she said, when speaking to the media after the match: ‘I was just physically not there. I just couldn't execute. I have to learn how to recover well and make sure I’m physically fit and ready to play when it comes down to the last matches….I will have to learn how to pace myself with practicing and preparing.'

2. Developing versatility and resourcefulness

Kim Clijsters defended her third U.S. Open title at Flushing Meadows in New York on Saturday September 11, 2010 in less than 60 minutes. However, the success of the Belgian was not just what happened on the occasion but how she developed herself after winning her first match at the U.S. Open.

In an interview after the first match in a very windy condition with high unpredictability, she was asked; ‘When you trailed 4 love, are you relying on experience or anything from the past, or is it just trying to get one game?’

Clijsters replied, ‘…Obviously you try to kind of read or...just experience what’s happening, what made you get to Love 4. And then obviously you try to...change a few little things...just take a few little more steps. Just take smaller steps. Make sure those feet...keep moving.' After defeating Zvonareva, Clijsters said, ‘…today I was able to mix up my game a little more and I think that just got her thinking even more...’

3. Continuous improvement is critical to personal development for great success

On Monday September 13, 2010, Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2010 U.S. Open final in a thrilling contest 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-2 at Flushing Meadows to become only the seventh man in history to win all four major titles. Nadal is only the seventh player in the history of men's tennis and the second youngest to attain the career Grand Slam. Nadal is also the first male player since Rod Laver (in 1969) to win the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in the same year.

Nadal triumphed with a new-and-improved serve he worked on specifically for the tournament. He was serving both his first and second serve with more speed, spin and precision than ever before. Novak Djokovic who Rafael Nadal defeated said, Nadal “…is just proving each day, each year, that he’s getting better. That’s what’s so frustrating. He’s getting better each time you play him.”

Commenting on the vast improvement he saw in Rafael Nadal, Djokovic said Nadal “has the capabilities already now to become the best player ever. I think he's playing the best tennis that I ever seen him play on hard-courts. He has improved his serve drastically. The speed, the accuracy, and of course his baseline is as good as ever."

Interestingly, after his victory, rather than dwell on his success. Nadal was talking about how important it is for him to keep improving in order to finish the season playing better than other years at the end of the season. He wants to make sure his serve gets better. He wants to improve his slice backhand and volleys and his court positioning, among other things!

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4. Mastery of emotional challenges

Rafael Nadal conquered his internal emotional challenges and won with solid mental strength and capacity. His career was in doubt in 2009. He had to withdraw from defending his first Wimbledon title on account of tendinitis in his knees. He worked on being mentally and physically fit for the tournament.

5. Understanding and mastering critical success factors

In winning the 2010 U. S. Open, Rafael Nadal adapted his game to be effective on a quicker surface than clay. Knowing that in previous years he had come to the Open worn out he chose to be fresh by keeping a light schedule. He changed the grip of his serve in order to get greater power. Furthermore he worked on mastering crushing topspin backhands.

Dr. O. Akin-Ogundeji , is based in Lagos, Nigeria. He holds PhD of the University of London and leads Better Poise/Personal Development Team , promoting people's capacity to be on top of their world and attain great success and self actualization. He also leads OD Synergy, a strategic human resources and organizational development consulting firm in Africa.

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