To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact

Sports & Gaming

Mental Toughness

Serena Williams

Lesson time 16:36 min

Serena Williams believes that tennis is 70% mental. Learn how to dig deep in tough situations from a player known for impossible comebacks.

Serena Williams
Teaches Tennis
Step up your game with two hours of the techniques, drills, and mental skills that made Serena the best in the world.


Tennis is very physical, and it's a mental game as well. You have to be physically fit, but my dad always said tennis is 70% mental. And I really believe that, because I won most of my matches, probably all of my grand slams, because of upstairs, not anything else. It's how you play on a court, how you're able to take the crowd, how are you able to take your opponent, how are you able to handle different calls or different things. So it is a lot of things that go into tennis, but most of all, how are you able to game your opponent's head and make them think that they're not going to win today? [MUSIC PLAYING] I think my greatest strength as a tennis player is probably my mental game. Yes, I have a good serve. Yes I have speed, I have good backhand and forehand. But all that would be nothing if I wasn't ready, prepared mentally to play every game, every match. Once you are physically fit, then I think your mental game can be even better. I think that when you are not worried about getting tired or not worried about will I'll be able to last for the whole time, you can take your game to a whole new level with your mental game. I think one of my best mental performances, and there are a lot of them, but one that sticks out is Australian Open 2010. I was playing Justine Henin in the final, and I was injured. I didn't even know how injured I was. I had two bone bruises in both knees, I had a strain in my thigh, I was taped up from head to toe, and I had an injury on my calf. Oh, and I had my stomach taped. And I was dead. And I just was mentally fried, my body, I couldn't walk. And somehow I made it to the final. And I was in the third set this guy yells out-- Come on Justine! That was an interesting exchange, wasn't it? --you don't deserve to be number one, or something. And then I looked at that guy, and I said, thanks to you I'm going to win this match. And I think I won every game after that. So, he helped me. He mentally turned me on. So thank you, whoever that was. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think one way to develop mental toughness is to simply practice on it. There are some game scenarios that I do play. When I'm serving, in particular, I'm always like OK, I'm going to pretend like I'm down 15-30, second serve. And I do that in practice. So you can't double fault here. Because then if I double fault, then I'll be down double break point. So those are things I do in my mind, and I've always done that. When I was younger, I think my dad told me to do that. A good way to play hard against your friends, or your sister, or your brother, or someone that you really love and care about, is to just think about the future. That's what I did. I could never play against Venus when I was younger. It was always very difficult. And even today when they play against Venus, at times I do have a little fear, and I'm ...

About the Instructor

Serena Williams, the world's #1 ranked women's tennis player and winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, teaches you tennis and reveals the secrets of her game. This is as close as you can get to a private lesson with one of the world's greatest tennis players.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Thank you, Serena! I'm inspired to take my game to the next level.

Thank you Serena for your instruction on this Masterclass. I have been using your tips and techniques in my practices, and have been seeing a big improvement (more importantly, my friends have been asking me when I have been taking lessons ;-) Thanks for sharing, and I continue to look forward to watching you on the courts!

if I can do 10% better on my game, it will be just because Serena Williams if 100 percent fantastic. Thanks I will re-watch until I can assimilate almost everything. Will try

Most important takeaway for me was keeping eyes on contact, and her details on her serving technique.


Mary H.

I enjoyed the first two lessons very much and find it interesting that the great players are still learning and hungry to improve! That's the great thing about this game.

Paris D.

I really enjoyed this lesson. Its good to see how people manage the pressures on the court and it give me a lot of tools I can use to see what I can do when getting frustrated on the game or stuck in my head

A fellow student

I enjoyed the lesson, I'm half way through. Serena is the best of the best in tennis. How nice of her to put all of the important points of the sport into this class. I learned so much and although I enjoy playing tennis, I do not play enough. I will be a better observer the next time I watch a match.

A fellow student

Serena lives and dies by the sword. She has won many matches with her mental game, but also has lost a few matches looking real bad because of her mentality. I remember the mental performance against Osaka and she looked real silly and embarrassing.

A fellow student

I Love playing tennis, Serena’s master class thus far has touched upon a number of areas that I should be focusing on in the future.

Amy H.

I LOVE Serena even MORE now. She gave great advice and I really admire her game.


Serena gives great advice but this video could be better edited to remove the redundancies. I found myself tuning out in some portions, which isn't fair to me and weakens what could be a really great lesson.


This is a big reason why I took this class. I wanted to know how Serena dealt with the hard times especially during a match. I really appreciate her approach and advice.


That's really interesting about how hitting the ball as hard as you can (if you're scared) will actually end up as a normal shot.

Loved it, especially after watching yesterday’s US Open match S Williams v McNally.