It’s fascinating to watch the best of the best in sport as their careers are coming to an end.
Serena Williams broke down in tears in her press conference after losing her Australian Open semi-final and it seems to me that the nearer you get to retirement the more it becomes a really hard battle with yourself as much as anything else.
Take out of the equation the fact that she has got a huge all-time record that she’s been chasing down for a while – the most Grand Slams ever won.
What must be the hardest thing to deal with, particularly straight after you come off court, is knowing your best game would have been good enough to beat your opponent but that you’re no longer capable of bringing that best game purely for physical reasons brought on by getting older.
Instead of saying: ‘I’m 39 and how many 39-year-olds would be in a Grand Slam semi-final?’ Serena will find it impossible to put out of her mind the player she used to be.
That’s something everyone who has been at the top of their sport will have to deal with – unless they retire on a real high. But if you do that, then you leave yourself open to the possibility of being eaten up by thinking: ‘Could I have won more if I’d kept going for another couple of years?’
I’m sure you find your perspective when you eventually do call it a day and properly reflect on what you’ve achieved, especially a legend like Serena. But she wouldn’t be the champion she is if she just accepted losing big games with a shrug of the shoulders.
In the men’s tournament it’s been the case of another ‘injury’ for Novak Djokovic that came and went during a big game and didn’t stop him either winning or continuing in the competition.
I’ve lost count of the number of times he’s behaved as if he couldn’t play on but has miraculously been revived.
I know that tennis is a sport that tests your body and powers of endurance and recovery probably more than any other, but the fact that Djokovic does this time and time again does grate a bit when you’re watching his matches. I’ve got a good idea what his opponent on the other side of the net will think as well!
I’ve just been talking about Serena Williams and I think her legacy is secure in terms of career numbers and the way in which the public feel about her – and the same goes for the greats of the modern men’s game like Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.
Djokovic, though? I think the best way of summing him up will be – he’ll be admired but won’t be loved.
Myself and Bobby Lammie were obviously frustrated and disappointed to lose the latest final of the mixed doubles at the National Curling Academy earlier this week.
It was another strong week, going 8-1 in the round robin and winning our semi-final convincingly. And we played a controlled final as well against good opponents, Bruce Mouat and my regular team-mate Jen.
When a game goes down to the last end you need to be on the right side of the inch and I felt we were incredibly unlucky to have that go against us with three different shots at doubles.
In the bigger picture, though, myself and Bobby are getting stronger and stronger as a partnership and there is even more room to improve, which is pretty exciting.