I had previously posted about the three-act nature of magic in tennis (see my earlier DramaLawg entry entitled The Prestige). Earlier this year, Roger Federer bedazzled us with that magic by winning the Wimbledon Championships and regaining the World No. 1 ranking after two years without winning a slam, and tennis pundits everywhere writing him off as past his prime: a former king-of-the-hill with nowhere to go but down. He answered with majesty.
Later today, he will seek to spark our child-like imaginations once again in the finals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he will face off against the talent who was largely responsible for supplanting his position at the top of the men's game over these past two years, Novak Djokovic.
Sadly, I won't be able to watch this match, so I want to offer a few pre-match thoughts which - you guessed it - I will try to relate to acting.
Tennis, like acting, depends so much on your game-day form. Some days your timing will be there; other days, not so much. I did a voice-over the other day for the main character in a film project that I am hugely excited about (which I'll plug later/elsewhere) but I learned something about myself and how people in general, I think, respond to the weight of expectations.
It's easy to lose your timing when you're trying too hard. Unforced errors in tennis are often caused by a player trying to go for too much or trying to cut the margins too thin when, for example, they respect their opponent too much. So too in acting, one can be tempted to over think, overcompensate for, and over act their lines if intimidated by the producers in the room or, in my case from the other night, the recording studio. If nerves are getting in your way because you're trying to summon absolute perfection from your routine, try allowing yourself to play at 90% and see if that allows you to relax enough, yet play with enough focus, to pull off that illusion called brilliance, and to achieve that magic trick where being loose makes your performance tight.