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Respect the Game

Dec 11, 2021

The first thing is to respect tennis.
After many years on the tennis courts I have been able, from my perspective, to witness some generational and cultural changes.
Tennis has changed, there is no doubt about it, the question is, if it has really evolved in all respects. I want to make a small recount of what has been my experience regarding this topic.
In terms of external factors tennis has improved technically and physically, players hit better and are better athletes, tennis is definitely played faster.
On the other hand we have the internal factors. Here is where I feel that there has been a regression. The main reason for being in tennis has been transformed, the main reason has become “winning", in some cases is the only reason. I do not say that winning is not comforting, it is of course the nice part of the equation.
The values that inspired the great players of the 60s and 70s, for various reasons, have not been transferred in a way that allows a continuous learning. The white sport, where fair play, passion for tennis and fighting were paramount, have been replaced by a verb: to win.
Here is where respect for tennis as a game comes into play. Tennis does not give a free ride to the top to anyone. It requires commitment, talent, ability to learn, humility and sometimes despite all of these efforts, it does not let you enter to the highest places.
I observe that there has been a cultural change that does not favor the processes of development and learning. People today want results to come quickly. They are less willing to lose and lose is also part of the equation. It is the other side of the same coin and the one that teaches you the real lessons. In most cases the referents are those who win and not those who work to reach competitive places. In addition what its being observed of those who win, are the external factors, technical skills, physical skills, rackets they use, rubber bands exercises, or whatever drill they are doing, etc. When what is really important, is to observe who these individuals are as they interact with the process. Developing any external skill requires a person who has the human skills necessary to engage in the process.
In my experience, I have seen many talents get to win a lot, however, some of them fail to develop their full potential for lack of internal inquiry and commitment to the processes of change and learning.
Fortunately, however, tennis gives us two goals. The external goals that are your achievements and results and the internal goals that are your levels of mental, emotional, behavioral development and your states, that can vary from feeling good to feeling bad inside a tennis court. The questions are: Who I am, who I want to be and how I relate to myself and my tennis practice.
I believe that the realization of external achievements can be enhanced by the achievement of internal objectives and growth. Fortunately, internal achievements depend only on oneself's commitment to inquire, to learn and to remain faithful and disciplined to the personal journey.
I encounter fewer people who are willing to make tennis a way of life, a personal practice, a commitment and I see more people who intend to use tennis as a vehicle for external success, personal agendas and status symbols.
What we do today as a culture will be the result of tennis in the next 10 or 20 years. Each of us as actors can intuit to which future we want to contribute.

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