Perhaps simply not good enough



A professional tennis player retires at the age of 33. He did okay for himself. He could afford the mortgage on a three-bedroom house in an nice middle-class neighbourhood, and he could take care of his family.

He peaked when he was about 27 years old. He played in the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament, and the following week he reached his highest ranking ever: 52.

He had a good coach at school, and his parents spent a lot of money to develop his talent. He was a pretty good tennis player – nobody could deny that. But even at his best he was simply not good enough to break into the top 50.


A young boy has been taking art classes for three years. The classes aren’t cheap, so one evening the father asks if he could take a look at his son’s drawings. He takes his time, and pensively studies every piece of paper that is laid before him.

Then he puts the pictures down and tells his wife he is going to take a stroll in the garden. Would she like to join him, he asks.

Near the rose bushes the man expresses his shock and asks his wife what the heck is going on. Three years of art classes, and those sketches are the best their son can do?

His wife defends the child. Maybe he just doesn’t have the talent for art, she suggests.

“Okay,” her husband replies, “but couldn’t we have realised that two years ago?”


Examples of tennis players who have played professional tennis for more than a decade, and who have won few or no titles (but who have still made a decent living)