Take your job seriously, not yourself.
Show up every day like you haven’t proved anything yet. Stretch, train, hydrate, refuel, then go again. Whatever the next guy considers ridiculously excessive, double that. And then do a little more.
Have some manners.
This world is becoming a bit too unbecoming. Let’s show up to our jobs on our best behavior. Shirts cleaned, shoes tied, and tightly shaved. (And suit up outside the court, for crying out loud.) Let’s shake hands, smile, and be thankful for what we get to do for a living.
Don’t lose your cool.
Tennis is rank with young guns (and old) letting their frustrations get the best of them, turning rackets into pretzels courtside. What if we instead channel that frustration into an ace on our next serve? At the very least, let’s not let our opponent see we’re starting to get rattled.
Be a good sport.
Don’t cause an unnecessary scene. Shake hands with the umpire. Shake hands with your coach. Shake hands with your mailman. Don’t ever start to think you’re a big deal.
Don’t be a playboy.
It’s a rookie move to get cocky from your winnings and lose yourself to the fake highs of fast living and getting around. “No big night on the town” will ever compare to knowing you’ve pushed yourself to the best of your ability and bested the best in the world. Settle down, simplify your life, and focus on your goals.
Compliment your opponents.
When you lose, show the winner some respect. Admit they bested you. Congratulate them on their skills. Showing you can be abundant with praise means you’re confident they’ll be plenty left for you one day down the road.
Don’t believe the naysayers.
People don’t like complicated stories. When your winning streak is no longer perfect, they’ll say you’re finished. But maybe you have a few more chapters to write. You just need a little more time before you’re ready to tell them.
Don’t be afraid to take a break for some perspective.
Most people would tell you the last thing to do after you’ve gone 4 years without a Grand Slam win is to take 6 months completely off. But maybe that’s exactly the thing you need to do. Time away allows you to see what you’ve done wrong, what you’ve done right, and what you need to do to do it right again.
Don’t give up if you still have fire.
Sometimes you just have to spend 5 long years in the hurt locker hunting down a dream that no one else can see but you. Everyone will doubt you. And so goddamn what.
Dare to shake it up.
Sometimes if things aren’t working, you need to work a new plan. Come to the net more. Hire a new coach. Find new alternative workout regimen. Become a father to twins. You never know what might move you forward.
Show that it’s OK for big boys to cry.
When you’ve won everything there is to win, and when the world is waiting for you to just smile triumphantly, hands held high above your head, if what you’re actually feeling is grace and appreciation for how hard and uncertain the road has been, it’s ok to let the tears come streaming down. In front of millions of people. Because tears aren’t a sign of sadness or failure, they’re proof that your life has meaning, that life is fragile, that you are humble enough to recognize that nothing in life is guaranteed. And with those tears, you show you value every single second of the journey.
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