It’s no accident that tennis uses the language of life: service, advantage, break, broken and love – Andre Agassi
Hi, I’m Coach Rob Opie, and the subject of this week’s COACHING NEWSLETTER is
An Attitude of Gratitude
There is something special about the game of tennis which continually produces some of sport’s greatest human beings.
Those that give back.
You make a living by what you get back, but you make a life by what you give – Winston Churchill
In this week’s coaching newsletter , we go inside the game plans of two of the greatest tennis players ever, to explore how they power up their professional and personal game plans, by adopting an attitude of gratitude .
The story of tennis great , Andre Agassi , is a fascinating and inspirational one.
Nicknamed “The Comeback Kid,” Andre Agassi was one of the world’s most beloved athletes and described by the BBC on his retirement as ‘perhaps the biggest worldwide star in tennis’s history – a tennis genius.
Possessing a lethal return of service and phenomenal hand–eye coordination that allowed him to take the ball early, Agassi is credited with helping revive the popularity of the game in the 1990s, with his flamboyant, unorthodox and non-conformist approach to tennis and life.
A life where he was constantly seeking balance and battling the complex nature of opposing forces. Self-destruction vs. self-preservation, love vs. hate, control vs. conflict, pain vs. gain, non-conformity vs. traditionalism, and risk vs. reward.
At age 25, Agassi was world number one, but by age 27 his professional and personal life had all but imploded, his world ranking slumping to 141.
A chance meeting was to change the way he played the game of tennis – and ‘ The Game of life ‘.
Andre, be careful with your decisions, Andre, be careful with your words, Andre, be careful with your relationships. André, we must all live our lives carefully – Nelson Mandela
18 months later Agassi reclaimed the No.1 ranking in the world. Overall throughout in his career he held the top ranking for 101 weeks.
Recently asked if he could bring something back to life, what would he choose? Agassi answered:
The spirit of Nelson Mandela– which seems to be extinct
Madiba had sparked a remarkable metamorphosis in a remarkable champion. Agassi went on to develop a deep appreciation for the game of tennis – and the game of life.
It took me decades to figure out that we are here to do – to do good quietly, to shine in secret, to give when no one is applauding, to give of ourselves to someone who can offer us nothing – Andre Agassi
Agassi now runs a charitable foundation for underprivileged children in Las Vegas, where he lives with his wife, Steffi Graf, and their two children.
PHILAN-THROPY is high on his hierarchy of values. It’s what many of the great champions do .
They become greater by figuratively shifting the letter ‘H’ back in the word : from PHILAN-TROPHY to read PHILAN-THROPY
They give back ‘ THE TROPHY ‘
They understand that while self-interest will always be central to human design, the greatest gain in life is the goodwill of fellow human kind.
Andre Agassi is recognized as one of the most charitable and socially involved ex-players.
It is claimed that he is the most charitable athlete of his generation – with an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’
Andre you may no longer be playing the game of tennis – but you have never stopped serving : David Foster
Another inspiring story from the tennis world is that of Roger Federer – a tennis genius adored by fans all around the world .
What a comeback year it has been for him at age 36, winning two further grand slams to take his overall tally to 19 Grand Slam titles – 95 ATP career titles.
He now lies second to Jimmy Connors ( 109 ) in career titles won – and surpassing this record number of wins must surely be high on his agenda.
But the brand – Roger Federer – stands for far more than just tennis.
At age 22 he started his foundation which to date has raised millions for children’s charities in South Africa , Switzerland, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other countries.
Federer, credits his South African mother, with whom he spent many childhood holidays with in SA – for the life changing impact it had on how he has contributed to the world.
All of a sudden you get in this position where you feel like you’re really lucky to be playing on the pro tour, and maybe you can actually do more and give back. And thankfully I have met some great people – for instance the likes of Bill Gates and Andre Agassi, who have done so well in philanthropy.
In 2017 , Federer’s innovative approach on the court, was openly matched by his innovative approach off the court, teaming up with Bill Gates, to play in a historic MATCH4AFRICA exhibition match in Seattle.
Together they raised well over 2 million dollars for children in Africa.
In September 2017, it was time for the Roger Federer ”inspired” inaugural Laver Cup: Team Europe vs Team World – in a format similar to that of golf’s Ryder Cup .
I just hope to leave a legacy behind, not for me personally but for the game, because it deserves it. It deserves the players, and the legends of this game deserve the recognition they deserve. The future players deserve a massive platform to play tennis in.
Roger Federer may be choosing to stay away from the clay courts to give his body the rest and recovery it needs to compete at the very highest level , but his philanthropic work is gaining ever more momentum .
Be free in your head, be free in your shots, go for it. Roger Federer
Through his charity foundation,Roger Federer hopes to have reached out to a million kids by 2018 .
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow – Melody Beattie
Gratitude reciprocates. The universe conspires to help those who conspire to help others.
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Till next week , when we take an inside look at : GAME CHANGER NUMBER NINE : Measure it . Improve it – where we explore how the great champions power up their games to the next level .
A special thank you to Jose and Doug at Team Cell C – for their continued support of our game- changing : GROWING SOUTH AFRICANS GREAT initiative at THE GAME PLAN
A GREAT READ. Andre Agassi’s autobiography.
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THE GAME CHANGERS – ROB OPIE , foreword by John Robbie
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Rob Opie is a Brand Strategist , Entrepreneur ,Speaker, Author and Performance Coach.
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