The 24 Hour Rule

One of the disadvantages of being a professional sports player is that you constantly have to face failures publicly. And to make it worse, you’d have to explain, analyze and justify your failure to the media. To put this into perspective, imagine a Facebook Software Engineer having to explain to the end user why there was a bug in the code or why the application launch was missed. This blog post is about one such incident involving Roger Federer.

Federer came into the 2013 Wimbledon as a defending champion — he got his 7th Wimbledon title in 2012 with a win over Andy Murray in the final. After a pretty ordinary 2013 season (just a single title in Halle), he was hoping for a decent run at the all England Club. However, he lost in the 2nd round to a player ranked outside the top 100 and also this was the first time in 9 years (36 GrandSlams) that he didn’t make it to the Quarterfinals. An excerpt from the post match interview —

Interviewer — What is the challenge now for you to live up to the standards that you’ve set?

Federer — Uhm.. Well, what do you do after something like this — you do the 24 hour rule — you don’t panic at this point. You go back to work and come back stronger really — somewhat simple but hard to do sometimes.

Although Federer did end up making some decisions that didn’t turn out well for him — started playing with a bigger racquet when he was not ready for it and also lost in the early rounds of a couple of small tournaments (that he normally doesn’t play), this is definitely something to admire and learn from him.

To Federer’s credit, he did come back to Wimbledon in 2014 and put up a great fight against Novak Djokovic in the finals!

You can watch the full interview here.

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