'Should've, would've, could've, but didn't!' - Maria Sharapova post-match interview a few years back at the US Open following her exit to the tournament. Rather like that - a no blame, no excuses response to a loss.
'I'm just disappointed with myself - I should have ended it (Djokovic's current unbeaten run) tonight' - Andy Murray, last night after his defeat by Djokovic in the semi-finals of the Rome Masters.
I find myself interested in the language we use on these occasions. Murray should NOT have won - what I mean is, he had no RIGHT to win (and I'm well aware he knows this) so perhaps I'm picking holes with words, but in the realms of the mental game they are so important. What Andy was probably trying to communicate was, 'I could have won if I had made more first serves at 5-4 up in the 3rd set and avoided those two double faults.' This kind of statement echoes the rules of results that I've recorded in this blog before.
1. You can't control your results, only influence them
2. The results you are getting are the results you should be getting
3. If you want to change your results, you'd better do something different
So often I hear players, managers, coaches in post-match interviews saying, 'We should have won, we/I were the better team/player on the day.'
NO, NO and NO again. You were beaten, you were not the better player on the day. That's why we have a scoring system in sport and a winner and a loser. Your opponent had every right to fight, to give 100% effort, to make life difficult for you, to ride their luck, and if you lost, it's the score that suggests who was best on the day.
Fantastic match though - we had friends round to dinner and I switched the TV off at a set and 2-2 in the second, anticipating it would be over by the time we had eaten. Not so, hour and a half later and we enjoyed the rest of the match from 4-4 in the third. 38 matches and counting for Djokovic - Nadal today, I wonder if he'll have the legs for it.......