“In the last year I have gained a lot of experience because I have been playing against top players and realized what things to work on to get better. Top players basically tell you what your weaknesses are on the court.”

Maria Sharapova, #2 seed going into 2005 Wimbledon Championships

The Times, Richard Eaton, 6/18/05

DR. G’S COMMENTS: How would you like to win all the time? How would you like to always beat every opponent you face? I’ve got the answer and it’s a surefire thing. Only compete against opponents who are much weaker than you and you’ll most always win! Of course, what fun would that be? Then again, if that’s all you did, not only would you not get better as an athlete, you’d actually get much worse. The only way to take your game to the next level is to discipline yourself to compete against better and better opponents. As tennis playing phenomenon, Sharapova states, when you play against more skilled opponents, you put yourself in a position to learn and develop as an athlete. Competing against and losing to better players or teams highlights your weaknesses. And, believe it or not, this is a really GOOD thing! When an opponent exposes your weaknesses he/she is actually doing you a huge favor. This opponent is presenting you with a valuable opportunity to get better. You know the old cliché, “a chain is only as strong as its’ weakest link.” Well, by deliberately focusing and working on your weaknesses you will become that much better as an athlete. Remember, the tougher the opponents you compete against, the more opportunity you have to take your sport to that next level.

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