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Winning Points With A Positive Attitude

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By Luke Jensen, French Open Doubles Champion

Summer tennis is here and in full swing. Even on the pro tour, it is down to the final major of the year at the US Open (Aug. 26 – Sept. 8, 2024). Are you going? If experiencing one of the major championships is on your bucket list, the US Open is a good one to enjoy!

At the US Open, there is so much to do with so many matches and practice sessions going on. The first thing you notice is the giant Arthur Ashe Stadium. With more than 22,000 seats, Ashe is the largest tennis stadium in the world. I really enjoy watching the practices because it’s fun to see how the best in the world prepare to play great tennis. The times for all practices are on a video board, and many fans just hang around the practice court stands to catch a behind-the-scenes view of the pro game.

One of the best values in pro tennis is the US Open fan week (Aug. 19-25). It is the week of qualifying and the week before the main draw begins. It’s the best value in tennis because admission is free; once you are on the grounds, there’s so much to see and do. Qualifying is a high-level spectacle, but the main attraction is free access to the big stadiums to watch the superstars practice. Main-draw players will practice twice a day, so hanging courtside in a seat that usually costs thousands of dollars is a wonderful thing the US Open offers fans. Last year, fan week had more than 150,000 visitors and a bigger audience is expected this year. There also are exhibitions, live music, and player interactions throughout the week. I highly recommend heading to New York to enjoy everything the US Open has to offer!

Speaking of appreciating the game, I have really enjoyed my coaching years and developing players to full potential. The first aspect to be successful is to help the player compete better emotionally under pressure. I take a great amount of responsibility as a coach to help the player keep the emotional unforced errors low throughout matches and practices.

Connecting players with ways to fill their minds with positivity and approaches to keep negativity out is more important in my experience than any technical or tactical aspect of my coaching. It’s all important but advising and training a powerful mind will help players win more matches and improve the game more than any other area of coaching.

As a player with my siblings, we were fortunate to have parents who were former athletes, high school teachers, and coaches. Growing up in a competitive and a fun-filled environment helped shape our competitive way. The way was always about FUN! Knowing what I know now, the ability to have more fun than our opponents and enjoy practice sessions was the most powerful weapon the Jensen family brought to the tennis court as well as all the tennis travels.

My advice to you is to find ways to make the toughest of matches and practices FUN! Playing music at practices always stayed in my brain when I would take the court. I constantly would “play” songs in my head that kept me loose and smiling. Think of the ways that you laugh and smile to enjoy the task at hand. Bring that to the court and give it a try. Allow yourself to try different things, but just stay in the point you’re about to play. I think you will find that your smile will bring out a quality of tennis you always had but were not able to bring out. It always worked for me, and I believe a positive attitude will work for YOU!

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