Bagels, Tennis Style (Or How it feels to lose)

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January 16, 2013 by Parveer Mann

Serena Williams hits a backhand during her convincing victory in Round 1 of the 2013 Australian Open

Serena Williams hits a backhand during her convincing victory in Round 1 of the 2013 Australian Open

In the first few rounds of a Grand Slam like the Australian Open, there is a high probability of a mismatch. The world’s best are often drawn against players who are just starting out or are ranked well outside the Top 100. This leads to results that can be lopsided and in Tennis, the most lopsided a set can get will result in a bagel.

In this context, bagels are not the fantastic baked good that is a breakfast staple but when a player wins a set 6-0. If a player can do it for two sets, it is the known as the even rarer double bagel. The 2013 Australian Open has already seen a few double bagels in the first three days of competitive action.Serena Williams, 15-time Grand Slam champion won her first round match over Edina Gallovits-Hall, 6-0 6-0 and Maria Sharapova, world number two has won both her first two rounds in double bagel fashion. The first time that has occurred in a Grand Slam in 28 years! 

Maria Sharapova returns a  forehand in first round action at the 2013 Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova returns a forehand in first round action at the 2013 Australian Open.

Is it better to lose in a blowout or suffer a close call?

As a recreational athlete, I have seen both sides of a loss. I’ve had games where nothing seemed to be going right and I knew within the first few minutes that I’d lose rather convincingly. Also, I’ve been in matches where I’ve fought hard throughout the game and have had one play or moment that doesn’t go my way and results in a loss. Now, I know that both efforts have resulted in a loss but does the manner in which I lost have an impact on my psyche or development as a person or athlete. Does losing narrowly allow the person to learn more about themselves and how they can do better the next time?

This debate can be applied to a close election, a missed job opportunity or any venture where you ‘lose’ out on what you hoped to achieve. So I ask, does it matter if you lose by a lot or narrowly lose? Do you learn more from one than the other? All I know for certain is that I don’t want to be Maria Sharapova’s next opponent!

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4 thoughts on “Bagels, Tennis Style (Or How it feels to lose)

  1. You should be PR for tennis my friend! Good stuff!

  2. misiagalka says:

    Great post! I think that losing by a little hurts more than losing by a lot. When you lose by only a little you wonder if you could have pushed yourself just a bit more, if that would have made the difference. If you lose by a landslide and you know you gave it your all you can still feel good that you did your best, even if it wasn’t good enough to win.

    I’m not a huge tennis fan but I don’t have to be to see the parallel between the game and life. Losing once in a while is a good character builder, allows you to recognize areas of improvement and re-evaluate your strategy.

  3. charlottepeer says:

    I think narrowly losing at least increases your enjoyment of the game. If you go into something where you know you’re going to be significantly out preformed, I feel like the experience of the game would be far less enjoyable. I’d rather walk away knowing I gave it my all rather than suffered through it.

  4. Manny Bedi says:

    I agree with the other replies. Being an active sports player myself, I have also been on both sides of the table and neither are enjoyable. I’d rather take a loss by a close call because it is something I can learn from. Losing by a small margin will constantly be a memory you possess, one that will make you think about what you could have changed. Whether it be looking back at a mistake you made or a chance not taken, it will be in your head as a reminder, an extra bit of motivation, to go to the next level when it’s time for your next game.

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