After watching the thrilling US Open Women’s Tennis final, in which two teenagers battled for the title, I couldn’t help but ponder the lessons. The victor, eighteen-year-old Emma Raducanu, entered the competition ranked 150th in the world! She had to go through the qualifying rounds just to earn a place in the main competition. The bookmakers placed her at 100-1 odds to win. However, during the entire competition, she played impressive tennis and never lost a set!
The finalist, Leylah Fernandez, entered the competition ranked 73rd in the world and turned nineteen during the competition. On her path to the final, she beat the defending champion and the 2nd and 3rd seeded players. In my opinion, both players were evenly matched and the result could have gone either way. In the end, I think it boiled down to the fact that Emma had the better serve.
The match between these two rising stars was exciting, and the crowd loved every second of it as they both fought hard for every point. Emma won the first set and was leading in the second set when the momentum switched in Leylah’s favour and she fought off match point to hold serve and looked like she was on her way to breaking Emma’s serve to go from 5-2 down to 5-4 when Emma slid on the court and cut her knee. She needed a medical time-out to dress her injury, as blood was running down her shin. When play resumed, Emma managed to hold serve and win the match with an impressive ace in the corner that Leylah was unable to reach.
We can all learn a few lessons from these two talented young women in particular and sports in general.
- Your age is not a limiting factor to your dreams. You can accomplish them at any age. Never let anyone tell you that you are too young or too old to do something.
- Always bet on yourself, even if you are the underdog and the odds against you seem impossible.
- Fight through adversity. You might get knocked down, bloodied and bruised, but don’t stop.
- Never give up. Even when it looks like you are definitely going to lose. Keep going because you may just be one breakthrough away from victory.
- Stay focused, despite whatever is happening around you. Don’t become distracted from your purpose.
- Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, even if you have to work a little harder than others to achieve them. The world is not level, but that should not prevent you from trying.
- If you have given your all and you come up short, you can still be gracious in defeat.