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Tip of the Week: Coping with a tough loss

by Tony Lance, Contributing Editor

Feb. 4, 2002 -- Any loss is a disappointment, but a bad loss can be painful.
Consider Martina Hingis' loss to Jennifer Capriati at the Australian Open two
weeks ago: The former No. 1 held four match points and left as runner-up,

Let's face it, we've all lost matches we should have won and we all know
how hard it can be to get over it. But Hingis responded admirably. Next time
you're on the losing side of a tough match, follow her example. Here's how:

Don't make excuses: While praising Capriati's refusal to lose, Hingis
never blamed her loss on anything outside her own control, even though
the sweltering heat was perhaps the fiercest either player had ever faced.
Instead, Martina took responsibility for her own tentative play and credited
Jennifer's better performance.

Learn your lesson: It's often said that we learn more from losing than we
do from winning. Although it's important to allow yourself time to feel
whatever disappointment you need to feel after a loss, don't beat yourself
up. Give yourself a day or two to process your feelings. Then look back
and try to figure out why you lost and how you can do better next time. In her
post-match interview, Hingis admitted that she's been having trouble
closing out big matches and that she needs to be more aggressive in the

Make new goals and move on: While it would have been easy for her
to brood over the Australian loss, Hingis played a tournament in Tokyo the
very next week and won. It was clear that she was putting the past behind
her and going forward. In a telling statement, she said, 'After winning in
Sydney [a week before the Open] and playing so well at the Australian
Open and now winning in Tokyo my expectations are definitely very high. I
couldn't set goals for the rest of the year before these tournaments, but now
I can, and they will be high goals.'

Though Hingis has taken beating after beating from her taller, stronger
rivals, she's made it clear that she intends to keep performing as well as
she can. And that's all we should ever ask of ourselves.
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