In response to my post yesterday about success coming partly from attitude, Joe Marshall wrote the following:

When you’re down in tennis, it’s easy to make the other guys into magicians. They’re not. It’s easy to make yourselves into losers. You’re not. You are both just guys swatting a tennis ball around. The key points we lost were lost by unforced errors by us, and better consistentcy by them. It was just a few shots…..a couple of inches here, a couple of inches there.

Serving out a match always has its own separate drama. The servers, who have been cruising along, suddenly say to themselves….”Now don’t blow it, you’ve got them.” But it’s difficult for the mind NOT to blow it…..better to say something positive like “Get a good first serve in,” “Move your feet.” or “Keep the ball in play”…some practical advice that will help keep you in the moment, and solve your biggest problem…..WINNING ONE POINT…..that’s all you can do anyway.

So for us, as returners, the goal is, “Make them play.”

No easy points, no unforced errors…..Make them EARN the victory, and if they can, tip your hats to them……so you lost a tennis match, so what? As the Roman soldiers who guarded the borders of the empire used to say, each beautiful Mediterranean morning, “It’s a good day to die.”

Today might be your last day. The point you are playing may be your last point, so LIVE IT UP! Play your best and enjoy every minute. Even if you send up a weak lob right in front of the net, guess where they are going to hit it, and run there at full steam……IT feels a lot better than standing there bemoaning your fate, and more often than you think, you just might guess right and save the point.

ON the first point of the key break game at 3-5, I figured David would serve and volley. I figured if I could get a decent lob over his head, we could make him run back to retrieve and take over the net. I told my feet to move, and guessed he’d be going for my backhand, which he had been doing successfully. He hit a cautious serve and I was able to get the thing in. That sent a message We weren’t dead yet. Ira smacked a clean winner on David’s serve to the ad court, and I was able to get another lob in at 0-30. By then we had the momentum, we broke, and when Ira put a couple of overheads away off good first serves of mine in the next game, we had them on their heels, and were able to play another game of controlled aggression to break.

Ira served it out. We shook hands….Great day of tennis for everyone….Let’s do it again.

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