Roger Federer came close at the weekend. His astonishing total of Grand Slams remains at 17. Beaten by current nemesis, Novak Djokovic for the US Open crown.
Much of the fortnight was consumed by his “new” shot.
Aggressive and all-out attack. On a second serve he occasionally bounds forward from the service line to hit back the serve on almost the half-volley.
It’s high risk. Many returns end up in the net or out. And when in play, a skillful lob from his opponent is his undoing.
Yet it appears to be getting into the minds of his opponents.
Many have stuttered alarmingly when confronted with the tactic.
Which surprised me.
For all its plaudits as ground-breaking, it is patently not a “new” shot.
The explosion of 20-over cricket has let loose lightning innovation. Whereas in my lifetime only the reverse-sweep seemed a true development, in the past decade there’s been the switch-hit, helicopter, all manner of scoops, and the strangely un-named reverse-drive through the slips down to third man. All genuinely fresh.
Whereas I’d seen this tennis play before. Many years ago too. As several commentators have gleefully pointed out. Yet at this speed, with today’s power, rackets and balls, it is a novel idea.
Federer even gave it a name; SABR. Sneaky Attack By Roger.
Those bashing it as disrespectful don’t know what they’re talking about.
What it does show, is that he is thinking.
Always looking to evolve and improve his game.
True Sales innovations are sadly few and far between.
Technology is the platform for many.
In my career-span the arrival of capability validation, free evaluation and the shift from lease to rental and product to service were all happily hastened by tech leaps.
So where’s your next innovation?
What can you do that shows you’re trying to shape progress in similar fashion?
Yes, not every tweak may make it to mass adoption.
Surely there is an idea you could try, on a small scale even, that may well propel your selling towards the top of your tree. Rattle your own new sabre.