Pe’er graceful in defeat

Tennis player reaches maturity at Wimbledon.

shahar peer backhand 311 (photo credit: AP)
shahar peer backhand 311
(photo credit: AP)
As disappointing as Shahar Pe’er’s second round Wimbledon exit was, it did at least reveal a newly acquired quality which can explain much of her recent success.
Pe’er has never shied away from hard work to improve her game, but for all the time she spends on the training court there was one trait that had escaped her until recently.
Maturity cannot be taught or worked on. It is an attribute which arrives with time, and that time has come for Pe’er.
It was not that long ago that the 23-year-old was described by some journalists as childish and spoiled. Pe’er used to go through a long sulking process after defeats as painful as Wednesday’s loss to Angelique Kerber, but no more.
Don’t get me wrong. Pe’er was extremely disappointed after her surprising second round defeat.
You don’t become a successful professional athlete if you don’t detest losing. However, Pe’er has now learned to become a better player from her defeats, rather than wallowing in them and allowing them to drag her down.
“This is how it goes in tennis,” Pe’er told me after her second round exit. “I’ll get over this defeat by tonight. One day you win and one day you lose. You have to accept it. You must move on and not turn every defeat into a tragedy.”
Pe’er was quick to accept that she can learn from an encounter she would previously do her best to forget about.
“I need to be more dominant on my serve on grass and play more aggressively,” she said. “I need to take my chances because that makes the difference between a win and a loss.”
Pe’er may have made a mess of her match on Wednesday, but her early exit will have no implications on the rest of her year. If anything, it will make her a better player – something we couldn’t say about her just a couple of years ago.