Anything is possible with persistence, belief in yourself

Tennis is not my game. I played it only a little in my late teens and very poorly at that.
Tennis is my husband’s game. He was a finalist during his senior year of college and is a fanatic when it comes to watching his favourite sport.
Nothing stands is his way. Not church or social engagements. Not heat of 105 degrees F or household obligations. Not sickness or the stock market.
Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to being a non-entity when Wimbledon rolls around. But, unfortunately, I blew it last Monday. Because of my disinterest in tennis, I wasn’t watching the historic comeback of Goran Ivanisevic. I only saw pictures of his triumphant victory and read about it after the fact.
Now 29, Ivanisevic has been trying for the Wimbledon crown since age 15. Three times before, he was a semi-finalist, the last time in 1998. Since then, he has been on a losing streak, and came into this year’s match as the 125th ranking player in the world.
But this time, Ivanisevic–selected as a wildcard–finally accomplished his goal. He won the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament on his 14th try, and he did it before a crowd of nearly 14,000 people. An adoring, roaring crowd. So boisterous that the umpire had to ask them to keep quiet during some plays.
The fans were queuing up, as the British say, the night before the match. And by morning, a line of sleeping bodies at least three miles long waited for the ticket office to open.
After winning, the emotional Ivanisevic burst into tears, kissed the ball, crossed himself, fell to the ground, and buried his face in the Centre Court lawn.
He left the match with nearly three-quarters of a million dollars and the trophy. And, more importantly, with this self-confident statement, “Whatever I do in my life, wherever I go, I’m going to be always a Wimbledon champion.”
His personal celebration was surpassed only by the one in his homeland of Croatia. Sports commentator Mico Dusanovic said, “Never has Goran played such quality tennis in his life. This is the match of his life. Don’t hold back the tears.”
In his hometown of Split, fans raced from cafes after the match and plunged into the Adriatic Sea in jubilation.
One day later, Ivanisevic sailed into the Split harbour escorted by hundreds of vessels. He was welcomed by fireworks, an open-air concert by top Croatian pop stars, and hundreds of thousands of people. The day before, one elderly man asserted, “Only those at the cemetery won’t be there.”
Prime Minister Ivica Racan spoke of Ivanisevic as “Croatia’s greatest sporting ambassador.” And said that the whole country should look up to Ivanisevic in overcoming its own weakness as the country searches for unity and stability.
Deputy Prime Minister Zeijka Antunovic also lauded Ivanisevic’s wonderful showing, saying that he did it not only for himself but for the whole of Croatia. “He showed us that when one has persistence and belief in oneself, anything is possible.”
Ivanisevic won the Wimbledon after 13 failures. He did it at an age when tennis players are past their prime. And he played with a severe shoulder injury that will demand surgery. But still, his persistence paid off.
Although tennis may not be your game, you can apply the same principles to your own realistic goals. With persistence and belief in yourself, anything is possible.
At any age.

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