After an epic five-setter match, Novak Djokovic emerged after his defeat to Stan Wawrinka in the recently concluded Australian Open as a wise, old soul. Despite the disappointment that laced his words, his effort and his levelled-up Karma points were there for all to see. The player’s words couldn’t have sounded more perfect to anyone who has had a fair fight and lost graciously.
“There’s nothing I can say. I gave it my best, I gave it my all. It wasn’t to be this time.”
Defeat is a paradoxical little thing. Nothing can be more crushing and uplifting than a good, hard defeat. A ‘good’ fight brings along with it, the magnifying glass to search and rectify the chinks in your armour. A ‘hard’ fight takes away all that you have. Then it takes away some more.
“Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”
– Wilma Rudolph, Olympic Champion.
Curiously, defeats return with much more than what they take away from you. For the player who has put in his love, blood and sweat into his commitment, all that matters are the things that make him happy. Defeats, to him, are not just impediments that cause more than just doubts and fears in his mind. They deny him of the glory, only to empower him to find his feet and have yet another go.
His true transformation takes place only when he embraces grows beyond the consequences of his game, his statistics and his achievements. When he accepts the denial of his claim; when he accepts the defeat in his victories and the victories in his defeats, only then does he become a real champion.