| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of iStock


There are so many ups and downs in tennis. One minute you are on top of the world, and the next you are wondering if you actually know how to play the game.

Novak Djokovic came into the Olympics having won just about everything he has played (with a couple of exceptions) including the first three Grand Slams of 2021. He was rolling along in the draw, which did not include many of the top players, and it seemed there was no way to stop him. He was up a set and a break against Alexander Zverev in the semifinals, and then the rollercoaster started going down.

He lost that match, lost his mixed doubles match in the semifinals, and then lost his bronze medal match in singles. He lost his mind a bit as well with a lot of outbursts, a shattered racquet and finally a heave of the racquet into the mostly empty stands. He then proceeded to pull out of his mixed doubles bronze medal match due to multiple injuries-one was his shoulder although it didn't seem to affect his racquet toss.

Anyway, the point is, don't ever give up in a tennis match. Don't go into a match thinking the player is unbeatable. Everyone loses and most players lose a lot. It can happen to anyone at any time regardless of what has been happening recently.

I always think back to this idea that is difficult to understand when gambling: the odds of the next roll of the dice, or of a certain card coming up, does not change regardless of what has already happened. Play every point the best that you can, believe that there is always a chance to win, and accept the outcome regardless of what happens.

Tennis is a crazy game and you will surprise yourself with wins over better players and unfortunately, losses to players who you are better than. That is just the way the game is.


Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com in East Hampton, NY . Steve is also a tennis professional at Ventana Golf and Country Club in Tucson, AZ. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at info@annaconetennis.com