Sometimes it’s good to check in with those who have already made it, to find yourself a little bit of inspiration. We asked some of the Team Dunlop pros what advice they would give to players who are trying to make it in Tennis, and we put together a little list of some of the key take aways we think could be useful. We have answers from the likes of Kevin Anderson, Qiang Wang, Jamie Murray and Taylor Townsend. We also have advice from former players such as Michael Chang and James Blake. Then of course, someone you always want to listen too, Patrick Mouratoglou, world renowned coach, owner of the prestigious Mouratoglou Tennis Academy and current coach of Serena Williams
A sport for a lifetime
One of the key thoughts is that the most important thing is to have fun. You may have a destination that you are looking to get too, but if you focus too hard on that destination, then you may miss the journey. You should play because you love it as Tennis will still be there long after you have finished competing at a high level and it’s a sport for all, and should be in you mind to keep playing no matter what.
Journey to the top is really long
Going hand in hand with the previous comment, is a nugget from Jamie Murray, ‘The journey to the top is really long’. Be prepared for it. Don’t expect things to happen too quickly, it’s all about focusing, working hard and enjoying yourself. ‘There’s no one way to do things’ a quote from Michael Chang, don’t compare yourself to others. Do things the way you want too and make sure you are true to yourself. Be honest with yourself, if you could work harder and you want to work harder, then work harder but don’t give yourself a hard time if you’ve done everything you can. Then just ‘trust yourself’ a message from Taylor Townsend. At the end of the day Tennis is often a personal sport, even in doubles, it’s all down to you to make the right decision, on and off the court but if you believe something, if you feel something, then trust yourself.
Focus on what you can do
Then a beautiful sentiment from Kevin Anderson, and one that has served him well through out his career. ‘Focus on what you can do’ don’t focus on what you can’t do. If you are injured, don’t try to rush back, if someone trains harder than you, don’t push yourself to compete if you know you can’t. Work at your pace and achieve your goals on your time. Then a quote from James Blake brings us full circle, when asked if he do anything differently in his career, he said he would ‘relax and enjoy it a little’ – Michael Chang said something similar ‘maybe I could have cherished the moments more’. These are touching thoughts and ones that shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes we can focus so much on our goals or the future, that we forget to live in the now and when we forget to live in the now on the tennis court, it can effect our game and it can effect our enjoyment of it.
To sum up
It’s important to stay grounded, it’s important to remember why you are playing in the first place and it’s important to never expect too much of yourself. Remember how few people on this planet have the ability to play the game as well as you do, it won’t be many. It’s a gift and you worked hard for it. Don’t take it for granted.