In tennis one of the buzzwords that gets thrown around a lot is fight. Everyone wants to be known as a fighter or identified as someone who fights but very few people truly understand what it means to fight. What does it mean to fight on the tennis court? When you take time to think about it — it is not the easiest thing in the world to describe. It is easy to point out or recognize when someone fights or is fighting but it is hard to describe exactly what goes into that process. We have come up with a simple math equation to help us understand exactly what it means to fight on the tennis court. It is our sincere hope that through understanding exactly what fight is we can all improve as competitors in tennis.
Let’s start with toughness. What is toughness? TOUGHNESS IS HOW WELL YOU RESPOND TO EVERYTHING THAT IS NOT IN YOUR COMPLETE CONTROL. In other words, having a positive physical, emotional, and mental response to all factors that are out of your control. The court conditions, the time of your match, the weather, “playing good or bad” (which is for the record a terrible way to describe your performance — more to come on that topic in the future), your opponent’s level, how you feel that day (for example illness), the draw, an unfortunate let court, how the ball bounces, and even the score are all factors that you do not have complete control of. Sure, you can have some level of control over things like the score, but at 5-5 deuce if your opponent steps up to the line and bombs an ace…sorry there might be nothing you could have done about it — too good. But something that you are in complete control of is how you respond to the events. You are in complete control of your reaction to these factors. That is where toughness comes in. The tougher the person, the better they respond. The better they respond, the more they fight. Some people complain about bad breaks, other people view those challenges as opportunities, they fight harder, and thus experience more success on the tennis court.
PROFESSIONALISM IS HOW WELL YOU HANDLE EVERYTHING THAT IS IN YOUR COMPLETE CONTROL For example, practicing hard leading up to a tournament, managing your tournament schedule correctly, applying the knowledge learned in groups and privates, having everything you need for your tournament matches (rackets, water, snacks, towel, clothes), warming up before your tournament matches, stretching after each match, and doing all these things and more to the best of your ability. That is professionalism. If something is in your control, you do it to the best of your ability.
When you combine these two aspects…toughness and professionalism…you are fighting as a tennis player. These concepts are so important for Apex tennis players to understand because this is what we want to be known for as a program. Not the program of big forehands, not the program of numbers, not even the program of tennis championships…we want to be known as the program who has a collection of the hardest fighters. If we have the toughest, most professional, and biggest fighters in the state, country, and world — then we all win. Even more important, is the principles of being tough, professional, and fighting translate over to every aspect of life outside of tennis. These ideas go far deeper than just playing and winning tennis matches. We hope that every single person associated with Apex makes the personal dedication to become a better tennis player through toughness, professionalism, and fighting.