Tuesday, March 27, 2012
So often we have heard the same thing over and over again- If you think you can and you will!
Whenever we read this phrase, the general tendency is to just shrug it off and think people who have achieved phenomenal things in their life- they are exceptional by nature like the Federer’s, Nadal’s or Williams of the game. They are god gifted! But what about those people who have not achieved exceptionally well? Are they capable of pulling extraordinary feats in their lives? What if I ask you- Are you capable of achieving the impossible?
Here is a story of a young rising tennis player who in her prime age of 21 ( when she was supposed to play the game of tennis and shine brightly ) was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma(a type of cancer originating from white blood cells). She was ranked as World No. 20 on February 21, 2011 around the time when she first started feeling the effects of her illness!
I can only imagine the shock she must have got on hearing the news: Normally the first reaction of people who confront any trouble is- God-why me? Then we fall in the deep dungeons of depression, stress and hopelessness as if everything is over. On even knowing, there just might be a chance that we might get over our trouble, we still feel gloomy thinking what if we are not the lucky ones? But not this young lady: she posted a message for all the fans in July:
“This is the toughest time of my life till now, and I hope it always remains the toughest time of my life. I'm sure I'll be able to overcome this - it's just a matter of patience and time and I believe I have enough!
But the good news is, if I feel well after I'm done with everything, there's a chance that I'll be able to play tennis again. There is nothing for sure, but the chance is a big hope for me and it helps me to stay positive and focus on my healing every single day!” - Alisa Kleybanova
And today after 10 months of battling Cancer, she was back on the tennis court and won her comeback match. Even in her toughest times, she never lost hope and continued to fight against all the odds to make her dream of playing again come true. So what if she had one of the deadliest diseases known in the world: Cancer. Nothing could faze her determination to be back on the court to feel the excitement, emotions during her matches, the wins and the results.
She said in her Thank You message to fans: “And when you have a huge problem, even though this was completely different to anything I am used to, I was still mentally very motivated to overcome it, which obviously helped me a lot to get through it.”
How many of us have the courage to be extra ordinary like Alisa? So often we take our lives for granted and not appreciate the joy of living each day knowing we are fit, healthy and free of problems. And as soon as any signs of trouble are there, we falter and succumb to the problem!
One lesson that we all can learn from Alisa is that life is uncertain. Each day is a joy to live and no matter how difficult a situation we face in our lives, we got to stand tall and fight it with full force mentally as well as physically!
In words of Theodore Roosevelt- Believe you can and you're halfway there. Imagine if Alisa would have quit 10 months back on being diagnosed with Cancer? She never did as she knew pain was temporary but quitting would last forever!
Hats off to Alisa who definitely deserves the biggest standing ovation from all of us!
Also: The Power of Belief !
Posted by Apeksha HA at 6:38 PM
Monday, March 26, 2012
Richard Evans recently mentioned a less known story about Rafael Nadal in his latest article:
Marc Lopez, Rafa’s close friend who played doubles with Nadal on Wednesday night, smashed a racket when the pair were playing a doubles match here a couple of years ago. At practice the next day, Nadal told Lopez, “Don’t ever do that again or we won’t play together anymore.”Lopez looked at him as if he was joking. “No, I’m serious,” Rafa shot back. “Don’t ever do it again.”
After I read Evans’ article, I did a quick Google search on players who have broken racquets in their career. Yes, Yes, everyone including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, John Mcenroe have all had their share of anger management issues in the past! Currently Ryan Harrison- the future prodigy is no exception.
But one name which stands out amongst all these is Rafael Nadal. I did more research on him and found out never once Rafa has broken a racquet. Nadal is known for his game, stamina, determination but I think one quality which has never gained that much attention in the media is his ability to control his emotions on court. As per Uncle Toni:
“Nadal has never broken a racquet. It would be showing a lack of respect to people who actually have to buy the equipment to play the sport “
The player who plays with so much intensity is an excellent example for all those who are unable to control their emotions. How did this happen: Uncle Toni is the man responsible behind this impeccable quality of Rafael Nadal. As per Richard Evans: Toni Nadal, essentially told a 6 year old Nadal, “You throw one racket and I’m no longer your coach. There are millions of kids in the world who would love a racket and don’t have one.”
In today’s world where anger is becoming a major issue, Nadal is an inspiring example to all the kids who watch tennis and aspire to become the future Federer/Nadal/Djokovic! Even if we are fans of Federer, Djokovic, Murray or anyone else- think about this example as a neutral tennis fan and if your kid is watching tennis: Whom would you want him/her to emulate? Honestly, there is no better example than Nadal for the above!
Compared to the Harrisons of today, Safins/Mcenroe’s of yesteryears, this Spaniard is a living proof that in tennis, greatness can also be achieved by looking within yourself and setting an example for the society. Yes, Nadal is known for a lot of qualities but for me this quality very well defines the kind of personality he has. Determined, mentally tough, brilliant player but above all a humble Rafa who respects not only his fellow players but also people out there who don’t have resources to buy a racquet.
I will be back in my next article talking about his other qualities but right now for me Rafael Nadal stands right at the top when it comes to the following:
Most of us would have reacted to disappointment the way Harrison did. Being a pro means making yourself, at a psychological level, into an exception.- Steve Tignor
And Rafael Nadal is an exception- No doubt about it!
Posted by Apeksha HA at 6:53 PM
Sunday, March 25, 2012
- Age: 30 and in 5 months-approaching 31.
- Rafael Nadal: A player who has a mental edge/grip over you and holds a 18-9 match record against you.
- You have lost the last 5 GS matches in tough circumstances esp the heartbreaking defeats against Tsonga in Wimbledon’11 and then Djokovic in US Open’11 where you were up 2 Match Points up!
- Media is questioning every loss and your skills that are supposed to diminish with age!
- You have not won a GS since Jan 2010.
- Inspite of winning 5 titles (33-2) since October 2011, few people are still questioning your victories: What if Djokovic/Nadal would have been there? Oh wait you won the ATP World Tour Finals but that was played on indoor hard courts so we cannot consider that an actual win (Why- I still fail to understand?)
- Young players are coming up and obviously your tennis skills doesn’t matter as you know life is over after 30; didn’t u know that?
- You are the only one (and along with your family/fans) who believes that you can still win and claim World No.1 by year end
But Does that count since it’s you and only you who knows in your heart that your life has just started! How do you answer all the above Pro’s and Con’s?
Simple: Action speaks louder than words. You go out and win the ATP Masters 1000 tournament where the best players play in order to prove their mastery in tennis including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. You not only defeat Rafael Nadal, but also stars like Juan Martin Del Potro, John Isner. Ah and don’t forget players who are 5-10 years younger than you- Raonic etc.
And then once you have performed your action: you can back it up with words to inspire your millions of fans in the world to have faith in you as well as in their lives to achieve more and more.
“Sometimes people think so much in the short term. It's a bit unfortunate. Some don't understand how you can play tennis at 30 years old, which is shocking to me, because normally that's still when you're young enough to play some of your best tennis. I think I'm showing that since I turned 30 in August last year.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what people say a whole lot, because I care about the fans and I care about, that I can do the pressers relaxed like I am now. The press understands it and I understand the criticism at times, but sometimes it goes a bit too far. I have also got that no problem, but it's just unfortunate that it's also portrayed that way for fans."- RF
It doesn’t matter what people say, what matters is your FAITH and BELIEF! As Dalai Lama once said: “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” 6 titles, 39-2 match record since the crushing defeat in USO11- the run has just started!
As it has been said: “Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstances”. Oh by the way, if you don’t know who I have been talking about: It’s Roger Federer ;).
Adios- See you all soon!
Posted by Apeksha HA at 4:01 PM
Saturday, March 24, 2012
DID YOU KNOW?
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon. After realizing that a woman was running, race organizer Jock Semple went after Switzer shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” However, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire marathon.The photographs taken of the incident made world headlines.As a result of her run, the AAU barred women from all competition with male runners, on pain of losing the right to compete.
Kathrine later won the NYC marathon in 1974 with a time of 3:07:29.
It just gives me shudders to think how our society was male dominated once upon a time and the way females were treated. Things that we take for granted in today's world is because few women like Kathrine Switzer showed the courage to stand upto the authorities and defy them!
On behalf of the women community, I bow to this courageous lady for her guts and boldness. And that's why they say:
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
You can read more about Kathrine Switzer here: http://www.kathrineswitzer.com/index.shtml
You can read more about Kathrine Switzer here: http://www.kathrineswitzer.com/index.shtml
Also: Lost Hope?
Posted by Apeksha HA at 9:14 AM
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
As I was just about to say goodbye to a hectic day, I saw a mail in my mailbox from a tennis fan who has been watching tennis since 1971. After reading the mail, I realized: One thing that binds millions of tennis fans all over the world is the way tennis has inspired and affected their lives in a positive manner.
I really thank God to have shown me the path of writing down my thoughts on tennis and how it can inspire us. In this small journey, I have received a lot of mails from tennis enthusiasts who share the same thoughts and it has been a privilege and honor to be in touch with each and everyone of them. So today I would like to introduce one of those pen pals (Samir M) with whom I have had such a discussion, his thoughts on his favorite matches, how tennis continues to inspire him and why he is a huge fan of Roger Federer:
Samir M : “I have been watching slams since 1971 and rate Pete Sampras and Roger Federer as the greatest ever sportsmen across all sports. Roger's conduct on and off the court says a lot about the person. Following tennis has been a passion, interest and a great stress buster. I can recall two matches as my favorite and inspiring.
1980 Wimbledon finals between Borg and Mcenroe was a classic. Those days tennis relied more on skill, serve and volley with sheer power taking a back seat. Points were short and players rushing at the net following the serve was the norm. Mcenroe was the next world no. one while Borg was in the hot seat having won the Wimbledon from 1976 to 1980. Borg essentially a clay courter had adapted brilliantly to grass and was hitting from the baseline while Mcenroe was considered to be one of the greatest serve and volley player of all time. There were long rallys and approaches to the net with Borg winning the fifth set at 8-6. This match was remembered because of Mcenroe's artistry shown via control over angled and stop volleys; his second serve with lot of spin was as effective as the first and Borg's sheer athleticism demonstrated through excellent court coverage and relentless hitting from the baseline.
Second match, which I still watch was the 2008 Wimbledon finals between Federer and Nadal. It had a reflection on Federer the person as well as the admired tennis player he is. Barely a month ago, he was virtually destroyed by Nadal in the French open final with the score reading 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. With that frame of mind, he reached Wimbledon and regrouped himself to reach the final again. Nadal riding high on confidence won the first two sets. Never in the history of Wimbledon final since the open era, a player down by two sets won the match and Federer almost made it by winning the next two. Decider was a cliff hanger with Nadal winning at 9-7. As Federer rightly said after winning his latest (Dubai open - 2012) that there is no substitute for confidence. These two months of watching Federer demonstrated that a super human like Federer can go low on confidence but he is so well equipped to forget his losses and come back on track in the minimum possible time. A lesson for the youngsters and others who get so greatly impacted by small failures in life."
After reading these nicely written thoughts by Samir, I wondered how much tennis has changed over the course of time and how I wish sometimes if we can switch back to those old times of serve, volley and skills of player the deciding factor rather than power! And then coming to Federer, I think Samir’s last 3 lines sum up this great champion's dedication and LOVE for tennis so beautifully that I will like to end my article with the following quote:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
(PS: Thanks Samir for sharing your wonderful thoughts on tennis.)
Posted by Apeksha HA at 5:32 PM
Thursday, March 8, 2012
This article was first published in http://www.10sballs.com/2012/03/06/roger-federer-and-the-critics/
If you have any questions- You can mail me at email@example.com, http://twitter.com/#!/ApekshaHA or http://on.fb.me/pouTOy
Posted by Apeksha HA at 2:14 PM
Friday, March 2, 2012
"If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow."
It has been just 2 months since Lendl joined Murray Camp and what a difference he has already started to make. Andy Murray seems to have found a new self completely different from his older version. From the whining kid who used to shout more than the winners hit on the court, he has transformed into a calm and focused man.
Breaking racquet or glass is the option tried out by many including Murray but courtesy Lendl the most important lesson he has learnt is the ability to channelize his frustration to positive energy and vent it out in his game just like Djokovic/Nadal. No matter how tough his situation is, he now tries to battle it out rationally rather than losing it.
And today was a perfect example of the above. Leading 5-2 in the match and serving for the set, Murray lost his serve for the first time in the match. Soon the scoreline read 5-5 and it was looking like Djoker was back again in the match. But Murray kept his cool never once showing his frustration and went on to win the set and match at 7-5.
Everyone who has been following Murray will agree- In today's performance what stood out the most was his approach and attitude. And there is no denying that Ice Cool Lendl effect has started to rub upon this Scot in a positive manner.
Not only Murray but there is one more person who will be smiling today after Djoker's loss- Rafael Nadal. Look out tennis fans, the season has been spiced up with Murray finally clawing his way back to hopefully claim his first GS this year, Nadal working really hard in his one month break and Federer already proving that age is no barrier for his masterclass play. As for Djokovic, I am sure this one loss will ignite him even more to play his best in the next tournament.
All in all I will end with this quote from Lendl: "You have to keep your emotions level, whether in the stands or on court."Otherwise you can't make good decisions"-Ivan Lendl
What do you think?
What do you think?
Posted by Apeksha HA at 7:21 AM