Being alone on the top

Posted on October 25, 2012 by

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Roger Federer 2009 Australian Open

Tennis. One of the most popular sports played in the world yet is one of the loneliest sports in the world. I’m proud of my achievement but I won’t brag about it since there are players way better than me out there. I’ll give you a short summary of my tennis career. I was ranked 23rd in Hong Kong before. I was part of the National Team program and a prospect for National Team. I have been playing tennis for roughly 5 years seriously. Tennis, unlike soccer or basketball, it is an individual fight where your pain and frustration could only be kept inside. No one can help you when you are playing a match; it is you who’s constantly making crucial decisions. The sense of loneliness and pressure is all on yourself, you have no one else to blame on but just you. It is not like team sports, where people blame something else, such as another player or venue, whenever they lose a match. The stress and burden on oneself is something that not everyone can handle. Lots of my friends who played competitive tennis with me quit because there was too much stress on themselves since they were losing a lot of matches. The stress I experience is different; I feel lonely and stressed to maintain my form on the top. The sense of stress in every match gives me no appetite after the game is over. You might ask me why is it stressful and lonely with glory and achievement? Well, when you are a nationally ranked player, whenever you play a tournament people will recognize you and they expect greatness and performance from you. When you realize youngsters and elders look up to you, you’ll start to strive for better. The fire in your heart ignites but your mental status might not be able to withhold it. Been look upon is something special but yet something very stressful. I have to give full 110% every game so I do not embarrass my coach, peers, and myself. The pressure that I apply to myself is way heavier than the pressure from expectations of coaches or peers. I just always think till perfection when it is impossible; only Roger Federer is since he is the King of Tennis.

I was once an extremely emotional player who had somewhat temper problems. I get extremely mad or pissed off because I have hit a no brainier shot or a risky shot that cost me a point. I used to even break a number of rackets. So then I told myself why so perfect? Why take it so seriously? I’m not going to turn pro anyways, why take it too seriously? Although that didn’t help a lot but I learnt how to use the negative energy and turn it into positive motivation. Every time I hit a bad shot, I’ll just tell myself just to try better next time. Each bad shot is a motivation for a better one afterwards. This is the simple mentality of a competitive tennis player. Whoever keeps the ball in, whoever wins. It does not have to be beautiful or classy as long as you win that is what counts. People might think your weird but who cares what they think? You have won the match and nothing’s going to change that fact. Winning; people always look at this first. But why is it so important? Winning is not everything in life! I think winning is just an extra reward for working exceptionally yet losing is also a reward since you learn you flaws. It is important to learn the joys of the sport because it really makes it better for you when you playing at a competitive level. You won’t feel that loneliness anymore. It is just way more enjoyable to play that sport. So don’t give up and something amazing will happen! And my hope is to turn pro after college!

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