There is very little to write about my two matches today. I won easily, playing well within myself as my opponents were unable to hurt me in any way. The red clay is slowing the pace down and I can run down any ball. Knowing that to be the case I can play with high shot tolerance, meaning I can put the ball back in play and not have concern that they will be able to hit a winner. I have made so few errors in my matches. Add that into my opponents not being able to hit winners and it is a winning formula. For my five matches in the round robin part of the tournament, I have won 40 games in a row.
I have now advanced to the “medal rounds.” The semifinals will be contested on Friday as there are now two days of doubles matches. I am not doing the doubles.
My team has fared pretty well. Advancing to the medal rounds in the singles are one 80’s player, two in the 75s, possibly two in the 70’s and two or three in the 65’s.
Twenty two of the players will be competing for the gold in doubles beginning tomorrow.
Fifteen of our original twenty three didn’t advance. I think that, for many of them, they were shocked that they didn’t do better. They just did not know how hard it is to compete. That there is such a huge difference between playing tennis and competing. For new competitors, there is often a tendency to look at other players and to think that they don’t play well or they just don’t play a good game. The judging a book by its cover runs rampant with new competitors. They are only able to see the outside…if someone looks fit or has a classy game. But there is the invisible, the inside, where the winners and champions live. This is where there is focus, emotional control and strong spirit. There lives commitment, joy of competing, intensity without tension, a welcoming adversity attitude, no quit, belief and presence.
I hope that these players who are feeling the disappointment of loss will stay in the game, looking to develop the skills that are necessary to play to their highest level of talents and skills. These skills of are gifts that come from this wonderful game.
I have been on this journey for thirty years. For the first four years I could not win matches at the level tournaments in which I competed. Four years of no wins in the first round or the consolation or back draw. I kept working on strengthening the inner unseen skills until I started to get it. And once I got it there was no looking back. And the best part is that these skills made me a better person and helped me in life situations that towered over tennis matches.
Winning is nice but it doesn’t last very long. What lasts are the lessons.
I love this game.