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  • Writer's pictureThe Legal Digest

Serena Williams & Roger Federer: Lessons on Career Success

Like many of you when I heard the news about Serena Williams and Roger Federer retiring from tennis, I was saddened that I would not get to watch them play some of their greatest matches again.

But what can we learn from them about career success?


They didn't always win grand slams; Serena Williams was once ranked world 608 and Roger Federer has been beaten 27 times by Novak Djokovic. The key that sets these two tennis champions apart from their opponents is consistency. In those rare occasions where they have been beaten, we saw them bounce back with an even better game, stronger and more focused as they were determined to maintain their status as no.1 world ranked players.

If you are applying for training contracts or navigating your career post-qualification, then consistency will help you find your path.

"I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but how they can recover when they fall"

Serena Williams

Staying Calm

When things get tough on the court, we don't see them lose their cool. The more energy they put into retaliating their opponent or getting frustrated with the crowd, their performance etc. the less energy they have for winning. In the same sense with a legal career, clients can give you a hard time and your colleagues could give you an even harder time but if you let that get to you, you let your emotions take over leaving you less energized and focused to be able to complete your tasks and solve problems.

Stay humble & Connect with People

Whenever we hear them speak post-match they never boast about their skills or experience, in fact in their view its always down to how they are performing on a particular day and how good their opponent is. Their honesty and understanding of what helps them win a game is what makes them so likeable, we see a vulnerable side to them, and it makes us want to support them more.

Remember that whatever level or experience you have in law, you can never know everything, there will always be another legal professional that you can draw on experiences from, who can show you a better way of working (or what to avoid) and it's a career where you are constantly learning and developing your skills.

"There is no way around hard work, embrace it. You have to put in the hours because there is always something which you can improve."

Roger Federer


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