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You cannot come close to greatness without ego. But how long before it stifles the march beyond?

Posted by tennisplanet on October 27, 2010

You have heard this, haven’t you?

‘Palm trees are the last ones to uproot amidst strong winds’ – because of their ability to bend. Nadal appears to have struck a seemingly healthy balance by always leaving a door open for when things go south – even when at the peak of his game / career. That makes it harder for you to become a target – within reason – as you have already laid the foundation to admit your deficiency / fall without sounding defensive and combative. It also makes it a lot easier to change course from the initial plan – despite it being a massive billboard of your open admission of being incorrect or incapable of handling the task at hand.

That’s the most efficient use of ego to ensure you are always moving forward while clearing the brush at your feet instead of bulldozing through it for fear of seeming weak and incapable. This quality is almost impossible to possess at 24. Heck there are clowns at age 60 still flailing for it. Heard of Donald Trump? So how come Nadal’s in possession? It is the most far-reaching and ground shattering influence of his team headed by Tony.  It’s kind of like a bedrock Nadal’s life and career has been built on making him virtually immune to life’s fickleness to where returning to where you were dropped from is just a matter of time – and nothing else.

The most stark contrast to this BS in tennisdom has to be Borg. Borg retired largely because he was not willing to bend to the possibility of not being the center of attention any longer – among other minor factors. That’s also the main reason he failed to return to even watch Wimbledon for five freaking years before the stupidity of it all dawned on him producing the desperate phase of his career to return to glory with failed attempts.

For most the realization is forced upon by conditions beyond their control with no option but to bend. But to carry the quality from the get go of your career is a hallmark of someone you cannot defeat – win or lose. It gives power to the word ‘relentless’.

2 Responses to “You cannot come close to greatness without ego. But how long before it stifles the march beyond?”

  1. Bobby said

    Great article.Nadal’s family deserves part of the credit for him being such a balanced person.Apart from that, it seems that he intrinsically is a person of good intergrity.

  2. MHM said

    Dear TP, thank you for this inspiring article.
    Being a non-native speaker, sometimes i just have time to skim over your eloquent articles; But i read this one twice, with great attention, and i’m really happy that i did so.

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