February 2, 2010

Don't Throw In The Towel!

Have you been in this position lately? You lost the first set 1-6. You're now down 1-5 in the second set and only two points away from the whole thing being over. AND it just started to drizzle and you want this match to end already. The court is getting a little wet and slippy but you don't want to make up those last two points at a later date, so you turn to your partner and say, "Let's just get this over with. The court is just barely damp and I don't want to forfeit these last two points."

So you sit back, mentally, relax and play out the end of the set. And, what do you know? You somehow win that game. And the next. And a few more. And it stops drizzling and the court dries up and suddenly, without realizing it, you're in a 6-6 set about to go into a tiebreaker! What just happened?

OK, I'll admit it. This just happened to me recently. And I've been thinking about how we went from being unable to beat an unbeatable team to being in a tiebreaker. I think a couple of things happened:

1. We didn't give up. We could have forfeited those last two points just to get off the court. We could have tanked on those points to avoid the forfeit but to get to the loss and get off the court. But we didn't. We kept playing.

2. We relaxed. Honestly, we had nothing to lose at that point. Once we were going to keep playing, we did just that.

3. I think our opponents had decided they had already won the match. I mean, they were only two points away. I think they hung back and weren't trying quite as hard to beat us as they had been.

So what was the conclusion? Well, we lost the tiebreaker 8-10 and thus lost the match. But it was a great way to lose and it gave me a lot to think about. The team that seemed unbeatable really wasn't. And giving up should just never, ever be an option.

Now this happened to me and I thought it was weird and very typical of something that only happens to me in my tennis. But, just a few days later, Serena Williams came back from being down a set and at 0-4 in the second set to beat Victoria Azarenka in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. So it happens to the pros too! Or maybe it just happens to me and Serena.

Lesson:  Relax and never throw in the towel.

© Kim Selzman 2010
All Rights Reserved

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