… And it’s entitled: In case you wondered what “choking” looks like!
In the clip below, you will see the 19-year-old Smitkova play a 15-40 point on her opponents’ serve at 7-6 in the final set. In other words it’s a match point for her after over 2,5 hours of play on Court 17 at Wimbledon. But read this before you watch the clip!
Smitkova entered top 500 in the world only two years ago, and top 200 only two months ago. Now she is 175 in the world. She came from qualifying rounds here, and has NEVER been to the main draw of a Slam tournament before this week! In fact, she has won only one match in the main draw of any WTA Tour event prior to this week! Not only did she make it to the main draw but she won two rounds to get to this match. Her career earnings for all the hard work through her teenage years is $75,562! If she wins this match point, she is guaranteed to make $200,000 at least!! This is what is on the line, this is a career moment for her. So when you watch the clip and see her return the ball, hit a couple of ground shots, and then make a terrible error on an easy forehand put away, you can understand why she chokes on the same shot that she has used numerous times during the match to hit winners. Now here is the clip, then come back and read the better half of the story!
The misery does not end there! She also makes an easy error in her 2nd and 3rd match points, and loses the game to get to 7-7! Furthermore, she loses her own serve to go down 7-8 and she literally starts crying on her way to sit down in the bench on that 7-8 game change. She stays alone sitting on the bench for one minute and cries really hard with the towel on her face.
But then, guess what?
She gets up, wipes the tears off and gets back to the court. She keeps fighting. She breaks back to get to 8-8. After almost three hours of play, she wins the third set and the match 10-8 in the final set. This time she has tears of joy in her eyes. She won, after choking three match points, in a match that could make or break her career. She did it alone, nobody on the bench to pat her back or calm her down, no coach to tell her what to do, nobody can talk to her. She knew how to dig deep and pick herself back up all on her own!
This is what champions are made of, this is why tennis players learn quickly how to handle adversity on the court and in life!
Tennis is a beautiful game…
Smitkova is already a champion in my eyes…