Minutes on Court

I am a tennis fan.

Like many, I was recently swept into the wonder of Serena Williams' run at the 2022 US Open.

She is an inspiration on so many levels.

A few days after her final match, I heard an interview with someone close to her, and they shared something that blew me away.

Serena's final match lasted for three hours and five minutes. I can confirm that I watched virtually all three hours and five minutes of it.

Here's the thing that blew my mind: This was the longest match Serena has ever played in her history of playing the US Open.

She's been playing the US Open for 25 years.

This might have been her final match in that tournament.


Possibly the final match in her professional tennis career.

At the time of writing this post she is 40 years old, almost 41.

She is the mother to a five-year-old daughter, Olympia.

As I said, an inspiration on so many levels.

I'd like to use this particular stat - minutes on court - to explore an idea I've been thinking about recently.

For a tennis player, the minutes spent on court is what all the mental preparation, physical training, and general sacrifice boils down to.

Well, it's like this in virtually all professional sports, is it not?

Come to think of it, there are many professions where this is true.

For instance, my Dad is a pilot. He literally logs his hours in the sky.

Minutes on court. Hours in the sky.

Suppose you're reading this and you have the kind of job where you work mostly with your mind. Let's also say for the sake of simplicity that you work a regular 9am - 5pm day.

The idea I've been thinking about recently is, what is your equivalent of minutes on court?

Is it your entire day?

It can't be, right?

What makes the minutes spent on court different from those spent off court?

A lot of things, but let's just take one: How switched on you have to be.

If you're working 9am - 5pm, to be switched on for that long, would be exhausting.

I know some jobs require that kind of endurance (e.g. Child Care Educators), and it is simply mind boggling.

Just as a thought experiment, consider the impact that following two actions might have on your week:


  1. Look at your calendar for the upcoming week and ask, what are the times where I'm spending my equivalent of minutes on court?

  2. What would it look like to spend all of your off court time, preparing for your on court time?

#2 is likely very unrealistic. Such is the nature of thought experiments.

There's probably a lot more to explore here, so as this idea keeps evolving I will likely come back to it.

In the mean time, if you've got two minutes, I think this post pairs well with Every Point is not Equal.

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