Tennis pros like Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are role models with plenty of good qualities that impressionable kids can emulate.
Tennis is a tough sport.
It requires timing, precision, complex techniques and constant decision making. It’s also both physically and mentally demanding.
As such, tennis pros like Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal truly deserve to be admired. If your child has shown an interest in tennis, unearthing the stories behind these personalities would be well worth the effort.
Here are ten things that your kids can learn from them:
None of these three tennis pros would have made their mark on history without perseverance. Within their tennis careers, they were all dealt with a roller-coaster of ups and downs, wins and losses. It was only by being fiercely persistent and determined through time that their respective successes could have been achieved.
Image credit: Vinod Divakaran
Remember, it took Federer five years of perseverance to land the historic eighth Wimbledon.
2. Put your health first
A sportsman’s life is riddled with injuries.
Nadal had been inflicted with dozens of injuries to his knee, back, wrist, elbow and foot. In fact, he had an operation to fix an ankle issue just last year. In 2016, Federer had a knee injury which kept him away from the sport for nearly a year. More recently, Williams pulled out of the French Open due to a pectoral injury.
As frustrating as it is for any of them to walk away from competitions, tennis pros know that sometimes, they need to make short-term sacrifices to pursue their long-term goals.
Health is crucial and injuries need to be given time to heal.
Only when you’ve returned to top shape can you…
3. Come back stronger
There’s no reason to let a setback define you.
After all, it could be after a setback that your time to shine will arrive.
Just look at Nadel who won the French Open and the U.S. Open in 2017 after dealing with a wrist injury. Federer too had an impressive resurgence that year after his recovery. How did he do it? He took the time out to work on his style of play – particularly his backhand and the return of serve – to compete even better.
4. Stay focused
Image credit: Tatiana
The next time your child watches a game played by these tennis pros, ask him/her to observe their faces. The laser-like focus will be apparent. It’s almost as if the whole world had melted away, leaving behind the player and the tennis court.
Your child will understand that developing focus and being able to be 100% immersed a task, whether it is a game or an exam, is vital for scoring exceptionally well.
5. Keep your cool
An excellent tennis player can go beyond focusing on the game. They know how to focus on the moment itself.
To prove this point, all three tennis legends are familiar with beating the odds at the last minute. This can only be done if they manage to keep their heads cool despite a bad start.
It takes a special – and very useful – skill to stay calm and focus on the moment instead of panicking about a recent mistake.
6. Be a good loser
What’s the point of being a sore loser?
Just take it from Nadal, who once declared himself to be a “good loser” who accepts losses very well. This idea is echoed by Federer in his quote: “Sometimes you have to accept that a guy played better on the day than you.”
Being a good sport enables one to learn from their mistakes and quickly move on to future wins.
7. Never stop learning
These world-renowned tennis players don’t rest, even if they are already at the top.
Nadal believes that he has to constantly keep improving. Williams is never satisfied – she would analyse her tournaments to search for the smallest areas that she could work on. Federer, on the other hand, has admitted to learning from younger tennis stars like Alexander Zverev and Stefan Tsitsipas.
This positive attitude towards learning is what has kept the three players in the tennis scene for decades.
8. It’s good to start young
Let’s talk about age. Williams, Federer and Nadal were on the road to becoming tennis pros by the time they were fifteen. Now, all of them are above thirty and still going strong.
This proves that starting young is an advantage. If your child is keen on playing tennis on a professional level, look into hiring an instructor at CoachRadar.co.
9. Know your worth
Image credit: Edwin Martinez
This point is best exemplified by Williams. A women’s rights advocate, she has been pushing for gender equality and calling out sexism in a sport that is dominated by men. This open letter she wrote for Porter Magazine is definitely worth the read.
It’s safe to say that her high rankings wouldn’t have been achieved if she did not know her worth.
10. Do good for the world
Many top tennis players including Williams, Federer and Nadal embrace charity work as a way of giving back to society. Williams prioritises gun violence and educational injustice, Federer’s foundation focuses on poor communities and disadvantaged children, while Nadal supports socially discriminated children and teenagers.
All of them prove that being busy is no excuse to forego the giving spirit which makes the world a better place to live.