We all know that ‘love’ in tennis means zero but, in life, it means everything.
Did you know, the origin of the term in tennis derives from the French word ‘l’oeuf’, which means egg. This represented the number zero and, for some reason, it stuck.
However, the purpose of this blog is not to speak of tennis scoring, it is to offer a rather philosophical reflection on motivation and what part it plays in your drive and ambition.
I had the pleasure of working in Portugal in April. I helped Judy Murray deliver a tennis camp on ‘The Campus’ which is a fantastic sporting hub in Quinta do Lago, Algarve. They deliver top quality football, rugby, golf, dance, and now, tennis camps on a great site with world class facilities.
At the heart of these amazing facilities are a team of brilliant people. Right at the centre of this team is an amazing woman called Anna. What does Anna do? She works behind the cafe bar and makes the most delicious smoothies and juices imaginable. This is just a small part of her job. In my opinion, what Anna does, in the most special way possible, is make everyone feel welcome. It is impossible to be in the same space as Anna without smiling. She has the most genuine and authentic soul you could ever wish to meet.
One morning, as we drank another delicious juice, I asked what the ingredients were. Anna reeled off what was in the drink and added at the end ‘the most important ingredient is love’. We all laughed and smiled but she went on to explain, it to be true, the most important aspect of making anything is the love you put into it.
Being the philosophical soul I am, I thought about this a lot that week and I couldn’t get it out of my head. The more I churned this idea around my head, the more I had lightbulbs popping off. When I thought of all the people I know, who are brilliant at what they do, they all start with a genuine desire to make a difference to the people involved. Essentially, they genuinely care.
We have arrived at a time in society where status, power, authority, data and results have never been more important. However, I do also believe, we are at a tipping point where people are realising this has to change. At the heart of everything, good and bad, in the world, are people and we must put them at the centre of our thoughts if maximum return for investment is to be reaped.
How does this relate to tennis?
Tennis is ALL about people. Unfortunately, it feels like some people in charge of tennis, at the very top, have taken their eye off the ball (excuse the pun). The sport of tennis cannot survive without the people involved within it. When I say people, I mean players and fans. Not just professional players, I mean literally every tennis player. It feels like the big decisions at the top of the game are being made based around money and power versus making the game better for the people involved within it.
I have a slightly different opinion when it comes to tennis players. I strongly believe every single level of tennis is equally important. You see, not one level can exist without the level above or below. Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are only world number 1 because of all the players below them. I struggle, morally, to say someone is more important than another. Each person should be equally valued as they all make up a piece of the bigger picture.
I want more people to be professional tennis players, I want more people to be able to watch Davis/Fed Cup live, I want more people to gain access to affordable tennis facilities, I want more people to play competitive tennis at their level, I want more people to be attracted and retained into tennis, I want every tennis person to get what they want out of tennis. Every single area I have mentioned above revolves around having the right people in place to make this happen. People who care about people and who have the right knowledge and experience to make it happen.
I know I am not the norm in having this opinion. Most people get swept away with hierarchal status but it is becoming more and more evident to me, the people who truly excel at what they do care most about the people involved and they love what they do.
Perhaps, just maybe, Anna is right….. LOVE is the most important ingredient of all
What do you think? Please let me know….
John Purcell says
I agree with you Kris and Anna – ultimately the amount of love you put into anything you do comes through and impacts on how you and others feel about it. Can’t comment about what it feels like in the pro game at the moment but I agree with your enjoyment aspirations for the sport and for people at all levels in all roles
Kris Soutar says
Thank you for taking the time to comment John