Tennis

What It Takes To Be A Tennis Player

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 13:  A general view of the packed out Manolo Santana centre court for the Rafael Nadal of Spain against Jurgen Melzer of Austria second round match during the Madrid Open tennis tournament at the Caja Magica on May 13, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. Nadal won the match in two sets, 6-3 and 6-1.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
EmmaAnalyst IMay 15, 2009

Tennis players—I admire them hugely.

Day in, day out, they go out on that court and do what people like myself are simply unable to do; even if we were to try.

I'm not talking about talent; everybody has something they excel at. For some it's music, for others it's writing; for these guys it's tennis.

The incredible motivation, the willingness to go out there each day and lay everything they have in them on the tennis court in an effort to win—that's what truly strikes me as amazing.

Rafael Nadal is probably the most prominent example of this kind of strength. No matter if it's the first round of a tournament against somebody most people have never heard of, or if it's a final against Roger Federer, he treats them all the same, giving as near to 100 percent as he can get. His frustration at playing below par is evident in any match; again, regardless of the round or the opponent.

However, the guys who aren't winning a lot of tournaments, the ones who don't go deep in the Slams or the Masters 1000s, who play, lose, and try again the very next week—they are the ones who truly deserve kudos.

They keep our sport alive, because without the small-time players there would a) be no players for us to watch blossom into top players, b) be a number of the smaller 250 events suffering, as often the top players skip these to rest and c) Grand Slam and Masters1000 draws would struggle.

Take a scenario of Rafael Nadal playing the likes of Victor Troicki or Janko Tipsarevic. One wouldn't even entertain the idea of losing; the other could hardly dare to even hope for a win. Yet both would step on court and fight to the last ball as if their lives depended on it.

What I'm saying is, it takes a special kind of person to do what they do on a daily basis. Whether they are No. 1, No. 2, or No. 75, the sport couldn't survive without them.

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