If finding your niche is a key component of success then Mischa Zverev has the answer. He knows his niche as a tennis pro. Because of his recent performances the tennis world has been buzzing with chatter about the lost art of ‘serve and volley’ tennis.
He’s the only male tennis player in the top 150 who plays that way. And that’s his niche right there. He may not volley better than Roger Federer or return as well as Sir Andy Murray. But it’s difficult to pass him. He is the best net player in the game right now.
And that’s why Zverev was able to beat Murray on the world stage. And in doing so he knocked the world number one out of the Australian Open in the fourth round. For those who don’t watch tennis that is a shock result!
Zverev stuck to his game plan of moving in on the net and blocking it as soon as he could. And he did that consistently point after point. This meant Murray couldn’t get the ball past him. It reduced the size of the court and nullified his passing shot which is one of his niche weapons.
Because his opponent has an unusual playing style Murray found it difficult to read. Normally he gets the measure of the other player quickly. Not on this occasion.
So, how come Federer was able to beat Zverev so comfortably in the next round if, he had such an unusual playing style? Because he could study the previous match; identify Zverev’s strategy and then come up with a game plan of his own. Murray didn’t have that luxury. And you can’t expect him to have all the answers before he’s been asked the questions.
This takes courage. You have to know what you want to do and then be brave enough to follow through. And if you’re not acting on what you know find out where the block is. Otherwise you’ll always be on the edge looking in, rather than in the game.