My doubts

My opponent is just much better than me. He plays too hard, fast and so deep. He’s such a smart tennis player, able to play both top spin and back spin easily, master in flat shots. No matter what, he always puts the ball wherever he wants. Experience: this is the main difference between us. I probably played a third of his matches in my entire life. And, proportionally, he won more.

My problem as a tennis player, and as a man, is the following: I’ve never learned from my defeats. I know I’m not the only one. And I’m unable to believe it is possible for some people.

He moves pretty well on court. Great volleys, good forehand. We’ve been on the field only for five minutes and I’ve already dirty socks, I’m sweaty, breathing heavily. Not over yet. He’s another trump card: big first and second serve.

Little break before we start: my coach tells me I can do it. But I know something he does not: my opponent is just much better than me. He plays too hard, fast and so deep. He’s such a smart tennis player, able to play both top spin and back spin easily, master in flat shots. No matter what, he always puts the ball wherever he wants. Experience: this is the main difference between us. He’s a “big serve” guy. He has a thicker beard than I do. His shirt is colorful, mine is faded. How hot is today?

Then I get the first set 6/2, but I don’t remember how. We were changing court when I realized I got very lucky. The field was not regular, I always had the wind behind me, he was so unfortunate in a few occasions. 0/6 in a few minutes. Honestly: after the double break, I given up the second set. Very honestly: it couldn’t go otherwise. You know? My opponent is just much better than me. He plays too hard, fast and so deep. He’s such a smart tennis player, able to play both top spin and back spin easily, master in flat shots. No matter what, he always puts the ball wherever he wants. Moreover, 8 aces in the second set and I got only one point on his serve. I can’t break him anymore. How hot is today? I’m sitting on my bench, with my coach who tells me something inaudible, for the first time since the beginning I take my eyes off the court. There are 30 or 40 people cheering for me; someone is friend, someone else stranger. 3/1 in the third set, 30 all, the player much better than me to serve. Big, wide first serve. I returned as better as possible, but short: easy ball for him. He hits a blasting forehand, out of two meters. 30/40. At this point, a doubt came up to me. Could I really win that match? Another mistake of him and it’s done. He must be very tense if he missed that shot. Let’s test him again.

First serve, out.

Slow second serve on my forehand. Chip return, to his forehand again. Same ball as the previous. And he hit and astonishing winner. Another mistake of him and it’s done: this was my mistake. And the rest is up to you, easy to imagine.

My problem as a tennis player, and as a man, is the following: I’ve never learned from my defeats. I know I’m not the only one. And I’m unable to believe it is possible for some people. Although, I had the doubt I was able too. And now I have another: what if I had no doubts? What if I hit a big return? There are two certainties:  I’ll always have the doubt; my opponent is just much better than me. No doubt about it.

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