15 Aug Most of the tennis matches are won or lost long before they even started
Not so long ago, I experienced the toughest match and the sweetest victory of my coaching career. I’m thinking about it quite often, and I like to call it, “A story from Egypt”. Not only because it happened in Eqypt, but also to make it sound at least a little bit romantic, while in fact it was everything but romantic to me. I guess, I just tried to cover the cruel emotional reality that a tennis match can create for someone sitting in the players box.
On the evening after the match, I was floating somewhere between the state of exhaustion, happiness and pride, that only a few things can lift on the level as high as a positive outcome of a tough tennis match. I received many congrats messages, but one message was special. It was from my best friend who is a man of few words and somebody who doesn’t get excited very easily. He loves and understands tennis a lot, but he very rarely texts me after matches. This time he wrote in a group chat where everybody was excited and wrote things like “great job Nick, great match, etc.”, but he wrote: “guys relax, this match was not won today, this match is just a result of a serious work and dedication that has started long time ago”. Wow, I found those words so powerful.
Later that night, I wrote a message to my player:
“You were amazing today and I’m very proud of you. Mental and physical resilience that you’ve showed on the court today is something that not many players can find within themselves, and it is also something that could take you very far in your career. Let me tell you something that might sound a little bit surprising.
This match was actually not won today!
This match was won on the practice courts where you showed up every single day without complaining. This match was won in all your other recent matches where you were losing, but kept playing and fighting. This match was won in the gym on the treadmill, when you felt pain but refused to stop and just continued to run. This match was won in the restaurant at the dinner table where everybody was eating delicious pasta and ice cream, while you ordered fish and salad to make sure you have the right fuel for the next day. This match was won in front of your Macbook and your favourite show that you switched off at 10 p.m. because you know that you need 9 hours of sleep to recover. This match was won in the transportation car where you appreciated the work of a retired volunteer driving so slowly. This match was won on your iPhone messenger where you wrote ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’ to your grandmother who watches every single match you play, even if it’s in the middle of the night. This match was won in those big moments where you pointed a finger to your head and gave that positive look to your coach who is playing and feeling every single shot with you.
This is where this match was won!”
I truly believe in words of dr. Deepak Chopra that “everything that is happening at this moment, is a result of the choices we’ve made in the past.”
I believe that most of the tennis matches are won or lost long before they even started!
Yes, you can instantly increase your level for one match or even for one tournament, but if you didn’t make the right choices weeks, months and years before, eventually you are going to fail.
We face choices every single day, and it is only up to us which ones we will make. Success in life or tennis is all about making the right choices.