I was watching the Australian Open during the week and caught some of 3-time champion Novak Djokovic’s third round match.
However, as the match went on, I became more fascinated by the back story of his opponent, little known Uzbek, 27 year-old Denis Istomin.
When he was 14, Istomin was in a horrific car accident on the way to a junior tournament, resulting in a severely broken leg. After 80 stitches and three and a half months in hospital, doctors said that he would never hold a tennis racquet again.
Normally, that would result in the end of someone’s professional tennis aspirations, but not for Denis.
This is where his mother, Klaudiya, enters the story.
More than two years after the accident, she started to hit tennis balls with Denis for hours at a time, telling him, “Keep going, we can do it.”
Over time, with the incredible support of his mum, Istomin started to believe that he could become a professional tennis player and the resilience that he developed during this period has helped him to rise to as high as 33rd in the world and so far, he has earned over $2.7 million in prize money.
Although Denis Istomin may never be world number one, win a grand slam tournament or become a household name like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, he inspires me with his resilience and resourcefulness.
And Klaudiya, who is now his coach, is an inspiration for believing in her son and helping him to reach his goal of becoming a professional athlete.
I don’t know what your circumstances are. Perhaps something has happened in the past that has caused you to give up on your dreams. Maybe it’s time to pick up the racquet again and start making progress towards your goals like Denis Istomin did.
Or perhaps there is someone in your life who has been held back by their past. Maybe you can be like Klaudiya and encourage, coach and inspire them to get back on track.
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