| By Ricky Becker

I really don't want to sound old-fashioned, but I have noticed a trend in junior tennis lobbys (or is it "lobbies") lately.  Everyone has an excuse when they lose.  There are so many of them but I will discuss (and I guess vent) about a few of them.  First of all, I can not stand when people take credit away from a victory by saying that someone "pushed."  Guess what, MAN UP and become a better tennis player.  Someone better than you will beat that pusher.  Thing is, often the person is not even pushing.  They are simply smarter and making less errors than you.  Is tennis all of a sudden about who hits harder?  If somebody is really a pusher and has no technique, his/her progress will stagnate at some point.  Maybe then you will be better and take the high road and not say "I told you so." But until you are good enough to beat that person, stop whining, get more disciplined and improve your game. I can't imagine a pro player complaining that they lost to a pusher.  This is because they are comfortable enough to look at themself in the mirror.

Secondly, and this plays out more in the media is when a player or coach says after a big match "I lost because 'Carl' played better than me today."  This is somebody trying so hard to give credit and show class but they can't do it because they have to include the word "today."  Does anyone else see this and want to puke?  This basically means that "I am better than you but for some reason you were better this one particular time than me." It's such a bad attempt at class. 

Another funny comment is "I outplayed him/her but I lost". Uh, no you didn't out play anybody.  Maybe you thinking that you did is the problem.  Problem is somebody who makes this excuse is probably too stubborn to understand that better players win bigger points and find a way to win.  When was the last match Serena Williams played that she lost 2&2 and came off the court saying a lot of games went to deuce.  I bet she hasnt said that but many of her opponents have.

Another comment that is laughable is that so-and-so always plays well against you. Actually, you probably have something to do with it.  Become a better tennis player and maybe you can throw in a little more variety and so-and-so won't beat you so easily anymore.

Complaining about injuries (don't play the tournament if you are so hurt), you played stupidly (athletic intelligence is an important athletic trait), I get bad draws (nobody has a good or bad career solely on draws) are also commonly heard.  The best athletes in the world believe the end result is based on them, not this outside stuff.  Do yourself a favor and "MAN UP!!"



Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at Glen Oaks Club.  Ricky also coaches high-performance juniors throughout the year and has been the Director of Tennis at three of Long Island’s biggest junior programs.  As a player, Becker was the Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis team and ranked in the top-five nationally as a junior.  He can be reached at rbecker06@yahoo.com, 516-359-4843 or via juniortennisconsulting.com.