I consider myself very fortunate for the experiences, challenges, and lessons that tennis has brought me. Without these, I wouldn't be who I am today. Throughout my tennis career, it's not the wins that I progressed from, but the losses and setbacks.
From the age of nine to twelve, I was doing very well with tennis. I was beating kids that were older and bigger than me. I was ranked as high as top twenty in New England; top five in Connecticut. However, after long matches I would feel a lot of pain in my knees. The pain got so bad to the point where I couldn't bend down or even go up and down the stairs. I had to stop playing tournaments for six months, cut practice times, and the intensity of the practices. When I came back to playing tournaments, it was a disaster. Looking back at before, I would always reach the semifinals or finals of a tournament, but now I couldn't even make it past first round. There would be days where I would come home from an awful loss, lock myself in my room and wonder what had happened to my tennis. Was it even worth it to play anymore? Why can't I win?
Proceeding this, I started putting countless hours at physical therapy and the gym to strengthen my muscles, and become physically fit, in order to have better performance on the court. With time, there were still some first round losses, some tournaments even reaching the semi's and finals again. There were matches where I would be down 5-2, or even down a set, and I would comeback and end up winning the match. In these moments, I found something deep inside me that had developed through all the tough times. Something inside that pushes me to keep going and not give up; no matter how bad the situation may seem. In simpler words, what all this has made me realize is rock bottom will teach you lessons that mountain tops never will.
Not only will this experience help me during tough matches, but it will help me in life. When I step into the real world: become an adult, go to college, get a job, etc. I will be faced with adversity and I will need to have the resilience to help me overcome issues. By continuing to play tennis in college, I will become a stronger, smarter, and ambitious person, that will be ready for anything that comes my way.