When you watch a live tennis match played by some of your favourite players like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Rohan Bopanna, Carlos Alcaraz, and Jannik Sinner, you cannot help but marvel at the athleticism, speed, finesse, grace, technique, passion and raw power on display.

Tennis is one of the world’s toughest sports that exerts great stress on players. Matches are gruelling, lasting up to as much as six hours. The right attitude to the game can make a world of difference, transporting you into a realm of unparalleled joy that no other activity on earth can ever give you.

I personally regard tennis as a unique game that can be won with a ‘mindfulness approach’ that puts you completely in the here and the now of things. When you master tennis, you learn how to unravel life’s complexities with simplicity but intensity of purpose.

Some of the world’s best sport stars have described how playing their chosen sport is akin to experiencing bliss.  This state of ecstasy is a rarity in modern living, riddled as we are with negativity and incessant distractions.

The author, Arjun Pereira, holds aloft his winner’s trophy at a club tournament

An award-winning tennis player myself, I have mastered the calm approach to the tough, competitive game. I have already won a prestigious Gold Medal in an 18+ Men’s Singles Tournament. I have consistently defeated players who have already been playing for as much as ten to fifteen years, though I entered the game just a couple of years ago.

For the uninitiated, tennis comes from the French term, Tenez, which literally translates to ‘hold, receive or take.’ The object being referred to here is of course the tennis ball. That hollow-feeling object is responsible for billions of miles of movement, ever since the newest variation of tennis was conceived in Birmingham, UK.

When I am playing tennis, I use a very simple approach. My goal is to consistently return the ball in the opponent’s court in every new unit of time and not always play a fancy shot like some legends like Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic often do.

In my opinion, tennis is simply a game of a soothing continuous rhythm. If you have the ability to repeat the swing motions of tennis with infinite slight variations depending on the type of shots being played to you, you will see the simplicity and beauty of the game.

The basic tenet of the game is very simple — play one more ball than your opponent to win the point. Alas! we have complicated the game ad infinitum just like we do with everything else in our lives.

The net and the boundaries of a tennis court, including the dimensions and the tramlines can be said to be metaphors for real life. Isn’t it true that, in real life too, you have boundaries and restrictions, through which you must make your way to achieve success or ‘win’ at your workplace; to have good relationships; enjoy health, wealth and fame — and navigate the ups and downs of life?

Violating some basic tenets in tennis will lead to loss of points, and losing too many, will eventually lead to your defeat in the game.

The top three of tennis: From left to right: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic (Photo Courtesy: NBC)

Tennis is, undoubtedly a tough competitive sport. Yet, some of the best tennis players are the ones who do not take the game too seriously and instead have lots of fun while playing.

Perfect technique is not the most important thing in the world while playing. Sure, it plays a role if you want to hit the perfect shot, but there are so many more important things like your mental state, your court coverage abilities, acceleration, deceleration, present time awareness, which sometimes play a far greater role in a tennis match.

When you master these factors, you achieve consistency in your game, which eventually wins you matches. Hitting an occasional blistering winner will only give you a brief moment of exhilaration, but will not help you to win the match if you lack consistency and present time awareness. Much like winning at life, isn’t it?

Arjun Pereira, a writer and editor, is also a singer, composer, lyricist and guitarist. He loves the outdoors and is often seen enjoying a vigorous game of tennis both mornings and evenings. He has worked for several leading publishing houses and corporates and loves to travel, soaking in new experiences and cultures.

More Stories by Arjun Pereira

Featured Photo: Courtesy AFP