Tennis is life. That's what we tennisheads love to say about our sport. As in life the best players on the tennis court will come face to face with a person across the net who is playing above their level. With that realization the questions start.Is it because that person has nothing to lose that I'm in this situation? Is it because they've found some unknown weakness in our psyche that we're not aware of? Have I lost the will to win? Does it matter what I've accomplished in the past if I lose to this person?
Some look inward and decide it does matter, that it means just as much to them to win the match they're playing as it does to win the Wimbledon, US Open or Australian final. Others are unable to find the will power and fire or shy away from it in fear.
Listening to Serena at her presser admit she was feeling pressure and admitting that nothing else mattered but winning the match was enlightening to say the least. How many Slams does she have? How many matches has she won? And all she cared about was winning today's match.
She is American and like American players of her generation clay is not and will never be her surface. But none of that mattered. She managed to slide into the shot today. Despite the brace on her lower thigh she ran and got to shots she could've let go.
That is why she, her sister Venus Williams and Andy Roddick are the only Americans that can be said to have a chance in Paris. No one is picking any of those three to win. But they will try. Roddick has gone as far as to change his game to try and keep himself in the conversation on the men's side. I listened to the talking heads on ESPN this afternoon and was surprised that they're so surprised that modern players continuously tinker with their game to try and make it better. As in life, one must adapt or be left by the wayside. It's a life lesson some learn better than others.