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SHERBY: Always respect your opponent
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Every player looks forward to playing an important match.

Maybe it’s a tournament, or a school match, or a league match; but regardless you are pumped and ready to perform at your best.

However, your opponent is far below your ability level and you can tell in the warm-up that it will be an easy win.

Should you let that player have a few points? A few games? A set?

No! Beat your opponent soundly, as quick as you can, and get off the court.

Be polite and courteous and play fairly.

Turn the table around. If you were given the opportunity to play a well-respected, high-caliber player, wouldn’t you be disappointed, perhaps insulted, if he or she gave you anything less than their best game?
It’s better to play the match and feel that you’ve had your clock cleaned fair and square then feel that you’ve been toyed with and not taken seriously.

There are some cocky players out there and they carry their reputations with them.

But everybody’s beatable. In tennis, as well as a lot of other things in life, there’s someone just around the corner who can humble you in a heartbeat.

Don’t be cocky.

Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.

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