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MORE SPORTS | Jun 12

Roger Federer’s College Graduation Speech Will Have You Running Through a Wall

The 20 Times Grand Slam Winner Gave a Motivational Speech During Dartmouth College Graduation

Graduation Speech Will Have You Running Through a Wall
Roger Federer - Lokman Vural Elibol / ANADOLU / Anadolu via AFP

The Swiss Watch Delivers 👑

The truth is, I had to work very hard to make it look easy… -Federer

ATP rumors were circulating that 8x Wimbledon champion Roger Federer would be the commencement speaker at an Ivy League school this spring and those rumors proved to be true when he showed up at Dartmouth College and delivered a rousing speech that won’t soon be forgotten.

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Never Give Up

Thomas Edison is famously quoted as saying, “Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.” In other words, it doesn’t matter how physically or mentally gifted you are, you’ve got to bust your ass to be the best you can be. And that pretty much sums up Roger Federer’s speech at the oh-so-posh Dartmouth College this past weekend.

Roger Federer is no stranger to making ATP news but he’s been retired for two years and believes the best is yet to come. That’s an amazing attitude for a former professional athlete, particularly one who has reached the pinnacle of success, and has chosen to look forward instead of dwell in the past like so many former jocks.


He conveyed his indomitable spirit to a captivated group of bright-eyed Ivy Leaguers and even the most cynical onlookers had to be wowed by both his buoyant outlook on life and the humility he carries throughout it. He’s a glass-half-full kind of guy and that was evident when he spoke of his departure from tennis as being more of a graduation than a retirement.

So, I never went to college… but I did graduate recently. I graduated tennis,” Federer said. “I know the word is ‘retire.’ ‘Roger Federer retired from tennis.’ Retired… The word is awful. You wouldn’t say you retired from college, right? Sounds terrible.

 

The Words of Wisdom

Roger Federer won 80% of his matches along with thousands of tennis games over his career. He is the first of the Big Three to hang up his racket with the others, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, very near the end of their respective careers and will soon be joining the Swiss legend as a spectator at grand slam events and not as a participant.


But one can only hope they have the same enthusiasm for their next chapter as Federer and will be as eloquent in sharing the lessons they’ve learned. Here are a few pearls of wisdom he shared with the nation’s best and brightest.

“Effortless” Is a Myth

People would say my play was effortless. Most of the time, they meant it as a compliment,” he said in Sunday’s ceremony. “But it used to frustrate me when they would say, ‘He barely broke a sweat’, or, ‘Is he even trying?’.

The truth is, I had to work very hard to make it look easy.

I didn’t get where I got on pure talent alone. I got there by trying to outwork my opponents. Most of the time, it’s not about having a gift. It’s about having grit.”

 

 

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It’s Only a Point

When you’re playing a point, it is the most important thing in the world.

But when it’s behind you, it’s behind you. This mindset is really crucial because it frees you to fully commit to the next point and the next one after that with intensity, clarity, and focus.

You want to become a master at overcoming hard moments. That to me is the sign of a champion.

Tennis could show me the world but tennis could never be the world“.


He added: “I’m here to tell you from the other side of graduation that leaving a familiar world behind and finding new ones is incredibly, deeply, wonderfully exciting.

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