By Winning the US Open at 28 Angie Kerber could not be further away from Tracy Austin’s victory at 16 in 1979. Having her best year ever and hitting World Number One in the age of Serena says something about the German with that slightly weird lefty forehand. She is a worker, at 5’8” she is hardly the tallest of players too and this just adds to the admiration you should send her way, not the smallest on tour by any means but Pliskova towered above her yesterday and at 3:1 down in the final set she really looked like she had little left to combat the Czech who was swinging freely and cleaning the lines.
I will confess, I am a big fan of Women’s tennis. I despair that the stands are often half full for women’s matches at Grandslams but fill as quickly as water in a bottle when the men appear. The match yesterday was a great advert for the women’s game but like all things I am always bringing things back to thing that drives me. How do we make our sport better help make kids’ lives better.
The Angie Kerber story is a great metaphor for a number of things that we should place in the tennis environment for every kid.
- Success comes from hard work. In a world where half the population are seeking to be discovered by Simon Cowell and catapulted to the top via the express route she has spent her career pushing and always trying to get better. If this was 100% due to her genetics or her talent she would have hit the front at a younger age! For every kid rewards for hard work more than rewards for winning should be on the menu.
- Fight, evolve, and fight again. When things were tough yesterday she never stopped fighting. If Pliskova had continued to hit the way she did at the end of the second set the result could have been very different, but this is tennis and in this game you have to keep going as you never know what is going on with the player at the other end.
- What will you give for success. No matter what a child wants they should not get it for free. A child should learn that they can get most of the things that they want but they must be prepared to give something in return. Santa should only come at Christmas and for the rest of the year a player must learn that they must do something to get something. Simon Cowell is not coming knocking and parents need to explain that if they give too much their child is very unlikely to learn all the life lessons that you want them to from the game.
All Hail Angie Kerber. A great number one for all the right reasons. Smaller than most, a leftie but a worker, a fighter and a competitor.
More details of how these areas can be included in your tennis environment will be covered at the evolution ii conference, Lafayette, LA and at the Court Warrior Workshop, Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC.