It probably goes without saying that elite tennis players like Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic have amassed a number of great tennis tips over their storied careers. How could they not have?
However, it’s not just backhand tips or serving strategy that these stars can help out with. By virtue of their status as role models, as well as the sheer amount of blood, sweat and tears that goes into becoming an elite athlete, these players know a thing or two about hard work, professionalism, confidence and other admirable traits.
For example, when asked to give three points of advice to youngsters with their sights set on superstardom, here is what Novak Djokovic had to say:
While chasing goals on the court, don’t forget to build yourself up as a human being. Life as an athlete is wonderful and adventurous, but it doesn’t last forever. In a split second, a simple injury can interrupt or end a career. That is why it’s important to grow in every aspect of your life and invest in your knowledge and confidence outside the court. Being a champion means mastering both work and private life, and that is not always easy. I am always on the lookout for new knowledge, new inspiration.
As youngsters, the level of ability is irrelevant. Growing up, Pete Sampras claims that he was not particularly strong tennis player, stating that he was ‘good’ but not ‘great’, and that it wasn’t until he reached his late teens that he began winning tournaments.
His advice to young players, given to NDTV via an interview, is that
It’s more about improving than winning., developing your game. Parents put so much pressure on kids to win, win, win. It’s not about winning, it’s about learning…learning how to lose…getting good techniques…getting good coaching. You need good parents.
In the same joint interview, Roger Federer, who was a great junior player and even won Junior Wimbledon, had something similar to say.
In tennis, it’s very important that you get supports from your parents and get decent coaching and you have to love what you do, parents have to let go eventually and trust the coach. You have to train hard and believe that you can be a champion one day. Dream big, but also be realistic.
As you can see, both Sampras and Federer, two of the strongest players of the past few decades, place a strong emphasis on strong coaching, supportive parenting and hard work.
While the above quotes from male stars are certainly applicable to young female tennis players, Serena Williams is the undisputed queen of encouraging young girls to find success in tennis, but also in life. Take this advice she had for girls from a recent Buzzfeed interview, for example:
You can do anything! You know it’s all about time management. You can manage your time well and you can be who you want and you can do anything. You know if I can do it — I’m no more special than anyone else, and that means they can do it too!
Or this one:
Now I tell you this: never give up on your dreams. It may not happen when you want it to but one day your knight in shining armor (your dream) will come true if you keep going. I leave you with this. Be positive. Be kind. And above all be humble.
Outstanding tennis and outstanding advice. Is there anything this woman cannot do!?
As you can see from the wisdom they choose to impart on the next generation, these stars all value qualities such as self confidence, dedication, ambition, humility and honesty at least as much as they value technical tennis skills!
And for those of you struggling in this great game, or in any pursuit, we leave you with this great quote, again from Djokovic:
So what if you failed? Nobody succeeded without learning to fall first. And by that, I don’t mean an easy fall. So go forward no matter what, fall hard on your nose, and then stand up and keep going forward and fall again and then bounce back again. And then, you will win. Keep going and keep standing strong on your feet.