I am watching Break Point on Netflix and it follows some of the best up and coming players on the pro tour over the last two years. Today I was watching an episode and one of the women was freaking out about playing Serena at Arthur Ash Stadium.
She ended up beating Serena and her mental turning point was as she walked out onto the court she read the sign on the wall. I believe it’s a Billie Jean King quote and it is printed on the wall so that players can touch it as they walk out into one of the most pressured environments they will ever play in.
And I thought that quote – pressure is a privilege – is such a fabulous saying. I don’t know whether I always feel that it’s true, but then our feelings very rarely do tell the truth. I have always shied away from pressure because I can literally make myself sick if I don’t control my stress levels.
However, as I get a bit older and I’m learning how to control my nerves, I am starting to see that it’s so true. If you do want to do anything that shows you to be outstanding, then you need to be able to handle the pressure. And if you get to the top in that thing you do, then that really is a privilege.
I just wish I was a little better at staying on top of those nerves. If you can make me wobble then I am a goner. I’m sure that when I’m eighty, I’ll look back and wonder what on earth all the worry was for.