5 Lessons from Tennis Legends
There are so many things that tennis players need to know. Some of these you will learn by playing the sport, going to tennis camp, or taking lessons. Others you will learn from coaches and mentors. Still others, you will learn by watching matches. There are many ways you will learn over the years, but one of the best things you can do is pay attention to the tennis legends and see what they have to teach you.
5 Lessons You Can Learn from Tennis Greats
In order to start your learning process, here are five lessons you can learn from the people who play tennis better than anyone else.
- Learn to control your temper: John McEnroe
Sometimes you can learn what not to do from players just as much you can learn what to do. Take John McEnroe, for example. He is a tennis legend, a former number one player, and is considered by many to be one of the best players ever. But what do you think of when you think of him? Often, his legendary temper is more recognizable than his legendary tennis playing.
Now, to be fair, McEnroe probably played better when he was angry. It somehow worked for him. But then again, he was a player who is worthy of legendary status. This is a rare skill. What you should learn from McEnroe is that, unless you are McEnroe, you need to keep your temper off the court.
An article on Tennis Server explains that not only is anger a bad thing, it could even be the Achilles ’ heel of tennis. McEnroe is the exception to the rule, so if you want to play well, do not try to pull off the McEnroe temper.
- You cannot let anything stop you: Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is not only a legendary tennis player, she is a legendary fighter for equal rights. You cannot let the things that seem to be unsurmountable stand in your way.
King won 39 Grand Slam titles. She was a Time person of the year. She has won a Presidential Medal of Freedom and has been a co-winner of the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year. If she had wanted to do so, she could have been a great tennis player. And that’s it. She didn’t have to add equal rights fighter to her resume. But she did.
If you are able to do something great in your career, something great enough to bring yourself into the public eye, then use that fame and fortune to change the world. Think of all the things that slowed you down. Whether it was your gender, your race, your disability, or anything else. Think of all you had to overcome, and then think of all the people who also have to overcome it.
This is actually a two part lesson.
Do not let anything stop you.
Fight to make it easier for the people who come after you.
- Have a personality: Andre Agassi
Andre Agassi is credited with more than just being a great tennis player. He is also widely considered to be one of the most charismatic players in the history of the game. Why is that important?
Because of his personality, people think that he helped revive the popularity of the sport during the time that he was playing. Perhaps you were one of the people that started to love the sport because of Agassi. Perhaps one of your mentors or coaches was the one who began to love the game because of Agassi. Maybe your potential tennis career is the result of one man’s personality combined with his talent.
What should you take away from this? Do not be afraid to have a personality. Perhaps one day, someone will be inspired to love the game because they love to watch you play it.
- You are going to lose sometimes: Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is an amazing player, but you already know that. Nobody plays on a clay court like The King of Clay. When you think of Nadal, you think of all the matches he has won and all the people he has inspired. You most likely do not think of the matches that he has lost first. However, you probably do think of them because he has lost some big ones.
In fact, there are a few very talented players out there right now whose biggest accomplishment to date is the big, shocking win they had against Nadal. You are going to lose sometimes. Maybe you will lose a lot. However, do not let that get you down. Even the best players lose sometimes. Just do your best to make sure the thing people think of first when they think of you is your successes.
- Don’t take the rivalry home with you: Serena and Venus Williams
Serena Williams and Venus Williams are sisters. But you don’t even have to be a tennis player to know that. Now, this lesson is not about never taking any amount of rivalry home with you. The Williams are sure to have some amount of rivalry off the court. The term sibling rivalry did not come out of thin air, after all.
However, the lesson here is more that your rival is not the same as your enemy. Play hard on the court no matter who you are playing against. Do not let your emotions get in the way of your playing. However, at the end of the game, do not let that hurt your relationship. You can be friends off the court and fierce rivals on the court.
Applying the Lessons to Tennis and Life
The tennis greats are all there ready and able to teach you valuable lessons. Make sure you take advantage of these lessons. These people did not become great without reason.