Quarterfinals Short and Sweet
Delayed start today because of overnight rain so Jo Ann and I took a nice walk this morning by the pier. As we were walking along we spotted a dolphin. I have heard it is a sign of luck. It just reinforced for me how lucky I am to be playing tennis when, three years ago, I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to play again due to hip surgeries. And lucky to have someone I love who enjoys watching me compete when, three years ago, after losing Carol, I thought I might be alone forever. Nice of the dolphin to drop by this morning.
This blog will be short and sweet as my match was. I played a fine player who had played for the University of Georgia and played some on the tour. In this tournament he had already upset two of the seeded players, one of whom was a two time World Champion. When I am told by other players that my opponent was the real deal in college I always say, “well, that was 45 years ago. And 45 years ago I was a pretty average player!”
I certainly felt that I would need my A game against someone who was on a good run.
I played a really clean match with very few errors and won 6-0, 6-0. I never let down. I treated each and every point like it was a match. When I watch Rafa Nadal I am always inspired by the way he competes for each point. No matter what the score, no matter who the opponent, he plays as if his opponent by winning one point will be taking food off the table for his entire family. He gives nothing away. So I try to bring that as well. After winning the first set 6-0 I knew that the score was only one set to zero and we were starting even again at the outset of the second set. So I played tough in that first game, not letting up. Not giving an inch. When serving the next game I knew that if I dropped serve we would be even. Up 2-0, I knew another service break would be tough for him to deal with. So, even though he kept getting to game point, I fought like Nadal. To me, there is no lead that is big enough. The match is not over until I am shaking hands.
When I bring this type of mentality to the court, whether I win or lose, I can feel good about myself. Winning makes it sweeter, of course. Winning without bringing this attitude doesn’t feel bad but there is always something that is dishonest about it for me.
Competition continues to teach me something every time I play. Part of my mission is for each match to be one in which I grow as a player and person.
Today I grew just a little more.
Happy to be on this trajectory going into tomorrow’s semifinals against the #3 seed.