“ We make a living by what we get back, but we make a life by what we give.”
– Winston Churchill
Watching 28 year old World Number One, Novak Djokovic and 34 year old World Number Two Roger Federer go head to head in the US OPEN final – was another epic sporting experience.
It means that the advantage of youth can only count for so much – it can only take one so far – then it is about head and heart. And listening to both players it’s certainly not all about winning – it’s more than that to the great champions.
Djokovic had this to say:
I love this sport and all these achievements are incentive for me to keep on going. I have tremendous respect for Roger and the challenge he presents. He’s the best player ever. I knew I needed to play at my very my best .It’s an incredible evening. I’m enjoying this year more than previous years because I’m a husband & father. And that makes it even sweeter.
The veteran Federer who has recently found a new leash of life with his “SABR – Sneak Attack by Roger” – approach to the game , had this to say:
I love tennis. I’ll see you back here next year, I’m pleased with where my game is, but playing a great champion like Novak is always difficult.”
Both players displaying great humility and an attitude of gratitude for the game they love – both entertaining, educating and enriching an overwhelming hostile crowd crammed into the Arthur Ashe Stadium – and millions of TV viewers around the globe.
Now cast your mind back to another tennis great of many moons back. The story of US 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.
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. Luckily 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.
Madiba had sparked a remarkable metamorphosis in a remarkable champion. Agassi, like Federer and Djokovic years later, had developed a deep new appreciation for the game.
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.
It’s no accident that tennis uses the language of life: service, advantage, break, broken and love.” – Andre Agassi
Agassi is now recognized as one of the most charitable and socially involved ex-players. A Great Champion with an
Attitude of Gratitude
- Rob’s new book: The Game Changers: Good to Great to Greater. Is available FREE to YOU as an instant digital download on his site : www.thegameplan.co.za