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Charleston, South Carolina • WTA Ladies Tennis From The Volvo Car Open… And So Much More

Photo by @Petra_Kvitova via Twitter



Charleston, SC. is an 800k event on the WTA calendar. Around the players lounge, towering figures like Kvitova and Pliskova make shade for Sara Errani and Lauren Davis. The dining hall sees small chicken slices layered over pasta and topped with enough cheese for flavor but not enough for a new pants size. Inside the gym, strong quads circle bike pedals and coaches create coordination drills. It is day one of qualifying and the place is vibrating like a struck drum.


I walk amidst the crowd. One man says, “That girl won junior Wimbledon.” His friend replies, “So did that one, and that one, and that one and that one and that one.” They laugh. This is the reality here. Even in qualies, the player pedigree astounds. A few former top fifty competitors are lurking about in these rounds, recovering from a stint on the bench or trying to find their mental game which once had them seeded at the slams. Matches here are decided by a handful of points or less. To wit, Kayla Day beat Anastasia Rodinova 108-107 on points and Sophia Chang got by Rodionova’s sister 121-117.


That careers can be decided by a lucky let cord or a missed call tells you how tenuous this vocation is. When competitions are this close, it is often a question of mentality over skill. After all, each of these players has been a champion at some point in their development. And so, in the coaches lounge, we hear the key words “fight” “battle” “la guerra” “война”. Being present and ready for the war can be the difference between winning and losing.


Lesson: When champions compete, skill is rarely the deciding factor. Mental endurance often differentiates the great from the greatest. If you are looking to improve your performance, narrow your focus to the game, the point, the shot, the ball. If you don’t, the champions will. And that is why they will remain champions.


Singles Draw: click here

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