Richard Krajicek Interview with Matt Haycox – Wimbledon Winner, ATB Tour and Business

There’s a saying ‘never meet your heroes’…well I’ve managed to disprove this with tennis legend Richard Krajicek!

I’ve been lucky enough to get to know the 1996 Wimbledon champion as he’s a regular face at the Berry’s Tennis Classic (shameless plug – get your tickets now for what’s sure to be another fabulous event in June 2020!). Our chat began with Richard telling me about starting out hitting tennis balls with his dad when he was just three. He told me “I knew this was my destiny, so I had to go for it” – talk about inspirational!

We went on to cover everything from tennis, mental challenges, life after tennis and our charitable foundations. These next two paragraphs give a fantastic glimpse into how mentally strong and committed full-time athletes have to be – and crucially, Richard’s words can be applied to business and life too!

“There are only a few people, like Nadal, who were born naturally mentally strong. You have to look in the mirror, ask yourself what went wrong today and how you can improve. I don’t claim to be close to being as mentally strong as Nadal but I kept improving myself, asking for help – and that’s when you grow mentally.

“Sometimes, mainly in practice rather than a match, I would get so angry with one shot that it would cost me the next 15 minutes’ practice. But practice is where it all happens. I learnt that you need to let the frustration wash off you. Then you perform better.” Here’s my take on self-talk and how to stay mentally strong and positive, from my LinkedIn page. Also, here’s an interesting view on this from someone who isn’t a professional athlete – Georgia Harrison on preparing mentally for her MMA fight.

Richard retired due to a chronic elbow injury. At that time, he was still one of the top players in the world and he revealed that the mental fortitude he’d developed in his career was very useful at coping with this. As well as supporting great events like Berry’s Tennis, he’s also tournament director at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, which has allowed him many great opportunities to improve his business skills and network too – and he says it has given him lots of new life skills too.

Like me, he also has a charitable foundation. The Krajicek Foundation aims to build safe places for Dutch children to play sport, and has so far built 125 playgrounds and also has a scholarship programme for youngsters to eventually become sports teachers.

For more videos where I chat to celebrities, business gurus and social media influencers about business, their inspiration, hopes and dreams – a bit of everything! – visit my YouTube channel, and for more topical, fun and above all educational business blogs follow me on LinkedIn.

He spoke to me about the whole process behind appearing on Love Island and gave me a glimpse of how it all works behind the scenes. It was fascinating to hear how they genuinely are shut away from the world for an entire week before the show actually starts! He said: “It was tough. You’re in a bubble – you don’t know what’s happening on the outside and you don’t know what people are saying about you. But it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life.

“As soon as you get on the plane, you’re on lockdown for a week. You get your phone and watch taken off you so you’ve got no sense of time. You get given board games, DVDs and books because obviously you don’t see the other people at all.”

A passion for business runs in his family – his older sister is Michaela Wain who got to the later stage of The Apprentice a few years ago. He told me he spent all of his Love Island money as a 21-year-old, but is now much more focused on saving and investing – he’s even got his own jewellery brand called Ritch Jewels. He admitted that he’d made mistakes as a young entrepreneur, but who doesn’t?! I touched on this in a LinkedIn article last year.

For more videos where I chat to celebrities, business gurus and social media influencers about business, their inspiration, hopes and dreams – a bit of everything! – visit my YouTube channel, and for more topical, fun and above all educational business blogs follow me on LinkedIn.

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