The new millennium revolutionized the geography of tennis, taking it from a niche sport to a global phenomenon. It also saw the end of the era of wood, and the start or a series of technological advancements that have transformed the game.
This has brought benefits across the board. Not only did these technologies make good players better, but they have also helped newcomers feel comfortable on the court quicker than ever before. But even though some things are easier than in the past, the core of tennis is still the same.
It is a complex and difficult game, but this reality escapes many players, especially younger ones. Youngsters are quick to demand instant satisfaction, wanting to have any effort rewarded with victory. There is nothing wrong with a hunger to win, but that hunger must not become all-consuming.
In tennis, as in life, much can be learned from defeat: "You'll come to see that a man learns nothing from winning. The act of losing, however, can elicit great wisdom. Not least of which is, how much more enjoyable it is to win.
It's inevitable to lose now and again. The trick is not to make a habit of it." This quote is from the film “A Good Year,” and perfectly articulates the value that can be found in each and every defeat.
That is, if we are willing to open ourselves to seeing defeat in such a light. Many people struggle to embrace defeat as an opportunity to learn. When they lose a match, they lose their temper, as well as any willingness to look for insight in such a loss.
We live in a fast-paced world, but this life philosophy of wanting everything immediately does bad things to our souls. You do not learn much when you win, but each defeat holds a potential goldmine of information. Winning the final at Junior Wimbledon might be a great feeling, but losing that same final might give the runner-up the kind of insight that he will be able to use later in his career to much greater effect.
It is a sad reality that these days we do not stop to examine anything that happens to us. Victories and, indeed, defeats, sail by us at light speed without us really looking closely at anything. This is a great pity, as we lose much by living life this way.
If we slow down and examine the world around us – stop to look at a sunset or the waves on the ocean – we will ultimately find ourselves richer for the effort. And once we learn to be curious about our lives and explore all aspects of it, we might just come to realize that, ultimately, victory is nothing but the sum of our defeats. by Francesca Amidei