Life for a Woman is like a Professional Tennis Match

tennis match

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Navigating life’s journey, for a woman, is like participating in a professional tennis match. Forrest Gump said, “Life is really a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.” To the uninitiated, a professional tennis match is two people hitting a tennis ball, with a set of rules and an umpire. However, it is far more than that, as there is always the game behind the game.

Women are Special

We have all enjoyed the raw power and stunning athleticism of Serena, the smooth strokes and mind-boggling precision of Federer, or the darting quickness and surreal flexibility of Djokovic.

Yet, none of these stars were born with a tennis racket in their hand. They had to strive, persist and learn how to become a star. It was a long, dedicated climb for them, where they had to learn to live with mistakes, slipups, disappointments, and victories on the way. They had to strive, persist and learn how to become a star. As a woman we may not aim for Wimbledon, but we are special in our sphere of influence.

No Time Limit

A tennis match continues until a winner is decided, for unlike other sports there is no time limit on tennis. How like life is that, and in particular relationships? So much for the wedding vows and the promise of a partnership. The reality is the vast majority of marriages and relationships end up with a couple of endlessly sparring partners, or the conqueror and the conquered, a victor and the vanquished. Somehow, most of the time the woman ends up carrying the heavy load, along with a lot of unwanted ‘baggage’.

Yet, life goes on, and in the end there is only one winner, death. Don’t quit reading yet! There are successful ways for a woman to navigate the ‘tennis match’ of life.

None of us have a closing date on life. We grieve when life is cut short, but we also grieve when life is medically extended, to say nothing of all the different types of grief in between. All we can do is live every day to its fullest, do things we enjoy and enjoy what we do. There is no scoreboard on our life, for yesterday, with its successes, failures and mistakes are just a memory. Living in a world of chaos, tomorrow may never come.

Endurance Absolute Necessity

In 2010, the longest ever tennis match was played at Wimbledon over three days between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. The match lasted eleven hours. Even the scoreboard stopped working. Only two professional competitive matches have lasted longer than seven hours and 14 matches have lasted longer than six hours. These demanded endurance both on the competitors and the spectators.

Endurance is a must for women navigating life in a man’s world. The suffragettes had it in bucketloads in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Considering we are in the early 21st century, and have gained some ground, women still have enormous limitations and need to fight hard for their place in the world.

Top Characteristics

The top characteristics of a good tennis player are divided into two categories – on and off-court character traits. What we are in the public eye should have the same characteristics as when we are in our private world. It is called integrity.

The top characteristics include the ability to win, which is seen as competitiveness. Anyone who succeeds in life has to be competitive, just to survive successfully. There also has to be the character trait of being a hard worker. The sloth is the slowest moving animal in the world, which says it all. Little progress. To succeed in life there has to be not only inspiration, but perspiration and lots of it. Consistency is also part of being a mature adult.

Professional tennis players will never reach the top unless they remain coachable, besides having access to a good coach. In life we should never be too old to learn, plus we need to develop the ability to discern the quality of those who are teaching or advising us. In today’s era of Knowledge Explosion we have to sift out the false from the real and the negative from the positive. Too many people will give us ‘bad’ advice, and everyone has their own agenda, particularly when it comes to criticism.

More Essential Traits for the Sucessful Life

Resilience is another major factor. Consider the tortoise and the hare. If you choose to ‘sit on the side of the road’, life with its numerous opportunities, will pass you by. A vast number of elderly people end up dissatisfied with life because they are stuck in ‘retirement’. Life will always remain exciting for those who never quit, and there are so many new horizons to explore. Admittedly, the pace may be a little slower at the end, like a marathon runner, but there is still much to wonder about. Life can be the half empty or half full glass. Same, same, but different attitude.

Attitude plays a major factor in the enjoyment level. The public go to a professional tennis match to be entertained, not watch angry and bad-tempered players. John McEnroe, at Wimbledon in 1981, had an epic meltdown after a wrong call by the umpire. Not only did he challenge the umpire, but he ranted on and on. That was only the start, as he became known for his temper tantrums on the court. He failed to grow-up and act as a responsible adult, constantly losing it when things didn’t go his way. That is called bad sportsmanship and I hate to think how he behaved privately.

Sometimes in life we lose it, but that should not be what becomes one of our major characteristics. We all have differences of opinions, but we also need to forgive one another and move on. That is an integral part of being a mature adult.

Life is Like a Professional Tennis Match

To play a professional tennis match you need to be totally focused, goal orientated and with loads of experience. In the journey of life, you only gain experience as you blunder along, often unfocused and non-goal orientated.

In life and in tennis, it takes time and loads of experience to become proficient. That means taking the good times and the bad times in your stride. Disabilities, mistakes, disappointments, or failures must not be allowed to define who you are. When professionals lose a major match, they don’t take their ball home and quit if they want to end up on the winner’s podium. I never succeeded in scoring any prizes at school, because I wouldn’t put the hard work in, but preferred to just ‘cruise’ along.

Pro players had many long and tedious ladders to climb, to reach the pinnacle. The pro player keeps a firm hand on every aspect of their life, from nutrition to fitness and relaxation, to where they go and who they associate with. Life should also be holistically lived, and it is essential to take time-out to just be yourself.

Tactical Skills

For the novice watching professional tennis, it is difficult to pick up on the nuances and tactical games that play a major role. Often it is only when the commentator, usually an ex-pro, comments on a particular strategy, does the watcher realize what just happened.

Nothing is what it seems on the surface, as there is always the game behind the game. Just like in professional tennis the strongest game of all is the mind game. What is the opponent’s weakness and how to benefit from that? What is their own weakness and how to protect it, or better still, strengthen it. Like in a game of chess, your aim is to coerce your opponent into a certain position so you can deliver the killer stroke. In life you must be aware when someone is ‘gas lighting you’ and trying to manipulate you into their mind set.

75% of the world’s population suffers from low self-esteem. Deep down pro-players may have areas of low self-esteem, but they have learnt how to overcome that. On the other hand, there is none so insufferable as the ego-driven narcissist, both on and off the court. Games are won or lost on tactics.

Athlete Extraordinaire

A large part of the enjoyment of watching a professional match is the player’s ability to be athlete extraordinaire. The game of tennis demands a multifaceted level of athleticism, as does navigating the journey of life. There is a need to develop speed, flexibility, balance, coordination and strength, in order to excel on the court and in life.

The woman who keeps her cool under pressure will be far more successful, as this is needed if she is to survive the unexpected, curved balls that life throws at her. Life will send you top-spinning, curved balls when you least expect it and ones you can’t prepare for. Most times these events are your worst nightmare. Balance, coordination and strength are essential prerequisites to successfully navigate life’s stormy seas.

We also need to be flexible, as the volume of knowledge doubles every 12 hours, while the doubling rate back in 1945 took 25 years. What we learned yesterday goes into our foundation. Just look at technology. Hand an elderly person an iPhone and they throw their hands up in horror, while most of the world’s population are only a hand reach away from their mobile. My children know they must ring me twice, as I am not addicted to my phone and am notorious for not answering.

Different Strokes Like a Professional Tennis Match

A professional tennis player must become proficient in a wide variety of strokes such as forehand, backhand slice, swing volley, approach shot, overhead, pushes, flicks, spinning the ball, loops, and even the occasional under the leg shot. A successful woman learns to wear many hats, such as daughter, mother, friend, aunt, grandmother, sister, associate, etc.

Life demands that we ever learn new skills. As children we needed to learn to walk. As an elderly person we may need to learn to walk again, but in a different way. Life has so many unexpected turns and twists, it demands that we keep learning new strokes, or we will find ourselves in the backwater of life. We have choices every single day.


The prize money may be seen as an incentive, but it cannot compensate for the early mornings, the long hours at practice, and the lack of numerous little pleasures others enjoy in a normal lifestyle. Above all, it is the mindset and mental fortitude that succeeds in the finish. In life we can end up fed-up, bitter, disappointed, and thoroughly dissatisfied with the cards life has dealt us, or we can choose to show the world a cheery countenance, despite the circumstances. We can end knowing we gave it all we had and will continue to do so for as long as the match lasts.

I sincerely trust you had as much fun reading this article, as I had fun writing it. We occasionally need to take time to sit back and have a laugh at the oddity of life.

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