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Mullins: Pulling Out of Tournaments is a Sign of Weakness


Hey, you! Yeah, you ... Have you ever withdrawn from a tennis tournament because you did not like your draw or were scared of losing to a potential opponent? Have you ever retired from a match because you had convinced yourself that you were too injured, sick or tired to keep going, but you really just needed an excuse because you were going to lose?

Dave Mullins

Recently, I played in an open tournament which was predominantly made up of junior players. Here are the frightening statistics:

  • The tournament included two draws (men’s and ladies) of 16; 32 players in total
  • The draws were made and published four days before play commenced
  • Four male players dropped out before the tournament even started
  • Three male players dropped out of the back-draw matches and one player retired after losing the first set in the second round
  • In the ladies draw, two players dropped out from the back-draw matches and one player retired during her last match of the competition

This means that of the original 32 players, nine players dropped out before the tournament had started or were competing in back-draw matches, and two players retired during their matches. I cannot believe that 35% of these players were sick, injured or had something better to do – THIRTY FIVE PERCENT!!!! Think about that for a second … I hope that is not a common statistic, but even if it is 10%, I believe that is still way too high. I understand that nervous feeling of having to play someone you are expected to beat, or to feel so sick or injured that you want to quit during a match. I can relate to those feelings, but I cannot relate to the attitude of acting on these feelings and quitting. Why are you spending so much time on the practice court if you are just going to drop out of competition? I thought the whole point of training was to prepare for competition!

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Page updated on Monday, September 16, 2019
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