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A serious athlete to me is one who is committed to excellence at any level, at any age, in any endeavor and in either sex. This commitment begins with a dream and a sense of talent and skill and determination to make that dream come true.

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When one has the right swing and enthusiasm, selling is not unlike hunting, a veritable sport. To scare up the game by preliminary talk and to know how long to follow it, to lose your gain through poorly directed argument, to hang on to game that finally eludes, to boldly confront, to quickly circle around, to keep on the trail, tireless and keen, till you have bagged some orders, there is some satisfaction in returning at night, tired of the trail, but proud of the days work done.

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Everybody has questioned my heart, questioned my training ethics, this and that, but I never did something as cowardly as to take any sports-enhancement drug…That’s one thing no one can ever say about me, you know? That I was a coward and took sports-enhancement drugs, because I was afraid I was going to get my a** kicked in front of millions of people. So anybody out there who said I never had no heart, at least I wasn’t a coward.

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Very much like that, and very much a loner, do you know and I didn’t fit really into sport or all kind of group activities as a kid, I couldn’t find a niche. And music was not really part of the kind of village curriculum it would, you know.

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I’ve been a sports fan all my life, and like most other actors, I’m convinced I could have been a pro athlete if Hollywood hadn’t come calling.

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Being gifted intellectually is only a small part of the equation of success. Concentrate on the factors you have control over: persistence, self-discipline, confidence. Far more failures are due to lack of will than lack of ability.

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We all had, at some point, matches we should have won and we didn’t and that’s the game. That’s just the way the sport is. Otherwise, if everything was written before, we don’t need to play.

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When I finished the juniors I felt, perhaps for about a year and a half, that everything was going to be the same and that I would be able to go out there and win any match. But it wasn’t the case. I struggled. It took me time to adjust and to realise it was not going to happen like it did in the juniors. It was three years between the junior ranks and reaching the Australian Open, and even then, having reached the final against Hingis, I wasn’t really realising what it would take to go higher.

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I stand in the center aisle of the auditorium, a wounded zebra in a National Geographic special, looking for someone, anyone to sit next to. A predator approaches: gray jock buzz cut, whistle around a neck thicker than his head. Probably a social studies teacher, hired to coach a blood sport.

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In one universe, they are gorgeous, straight-teethed, long-legged, wrapped in designer fashions, and given sports cars on their sixteenth birthdays. Teacher smile at them and grade them on the curve. They know the first names of the staff. They are the Pride of the Trojans. Oops – I mean Pride of the Blue Devils. In Universe #2, they throw parties wild enough to attract college students. They worship the stink of Eau de Jocque. They rent beach houses in Cancún during Spring Break and get group-rate abortions before prom.

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Come, my Celia, let us prove, While we can, the sports of love, Time will not be ours for ever, He, at length, our good will sever; Spend not then his gifts in vain: Suns that set may rise again; But if once we lose this light, ‘Tis with us perpetual night. Why should we defer our joys? Fame and rumour are but toys.

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Doing, a filthy pleasure is, and short; And done, we straight repent us of the sport: Let us not rush blindly on unto it, Like lustful beasts, that only know to do it: For lust will languish, and that heat decay, But thus, thus, keeping endless Holy-.

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I think that my God-given physical attributes, big hands, and big feet, the way that I’m built, proportion-wise, just made basketball the most inviting sport for me to play.

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Many people think sports are totally physical, that you don’t have to think, everything is done for you and you’re catered to, I found that to be so far removed from the truth that it’s almost a joke. The ones who become stars are the ones who have a head on their shoulders and know how to use it.

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I liked the game, I enjoyed the game, and the game fed me enough, and gave me enough rewards to reinforce that this is something that I should spend time doing, and that I could possibly make a priority in my life, versus other sports.