Religion In Tennis

The cross is a common pendant worn on chains of several prominent tennis players: Steve Johnson, Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils and Maria Sharapova to name a few.  Quite a few players also make the sign of the cross at the end of their matches giving thanks for their victory. Included amongst these are Juan Martin Del Potro and Victoria Azarenka. The Williams sisters are well-known for their faith and they always give praise and thanks to Jehovah after every match, win or lose.  Having watched a few of these players, I question if they fully understand the significance of the cross since their behavior on court often does not reflect a Christ-like character. In fact I was quite shocked when I saw the cross around a few necks.

I have always been quite impressed by Juan Martin Del Potro, whose demeanor embodies humility; yet, he is a very fierce competitor when he steps on court. Despite the adversities he has faced with his bilateral wrist injuries that required numerous surgeries and involved several protracted recovery periods that almost tempted him to quit, he persevered and continues to give praise to God.  It is a testament of his faith that he made it all the way to the final at the Rio Olympics this summer.  I have always believed that something more than a love of the sport motivates every player when they step on the court.  To compete day in and day out at the level required to succeed is not achieved solely by one’s will.  A successful career sustained over years comes from an internal source of strength that can only be attributed to one’s religious beliefs. If you doubt the impact of faith, take a look at how dominant the Williams’ sisters have been, when no one expected them to succeed, their father trusted in his faith.

SOURCE OF IMAGE: Creative Commons


  1. Perceptive. More could be said on this topic. How does one’s inward spiritual state affect one’s head game?

    1. If there is no calm, which comes from one’s religious beliefs, I imagine at times it can seem downright impossible to get through the match, much less win it. I think one’s spiritual beliefs can positively affect their state of mind, allowing them to find solutions on court even when the odds are against them……who would have thought that Juan Martin Del Potro would win silver…..the odds were stacked against and yet he did.

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