NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo’s impassioned “there’s no failure in sports” plea after his team crashed out of the NBA play-offs won praise from Greek tennis-playing compatriot Maria Sakkari on Thursday who described it as a “wake-up call”.
Antetokounmpo insisted Milwaukee’s season had not been a failure despite the top-seeded Bucks crashing out of the playoffs at the first hurdle on Wednesday, losing 128-126 to Miami.
“There’s no failure in sports. There’s good days, bad days,” Antetokounmpo said.
Sakkari, ranked nine in the world, hailed Antetokounmpo for his “unique” talents.
“He always says that tennis is the toughest sport,” Sakkari said on Thursday after making the third round of the Madrid Open.
“He has spoken to me about how tough our sport is. Tennis is a sport where we lose every week and you have to go again and erase it and go again from zero.”
She added: “Maybe it’s a wake-up call for everyone outside of sports to understand what it means when you lose or when you don’t achieve your goals,” Sakkari said. “It’s not the end of the world.”
American world number six Coco Gauff, a fan of the Miami Heat, said Antetokounmpo’s words echoed her emotional turmoil after losing the French Open final to Iga Swiatek last year.
“After Roland Garros, it took me a long time to realise that tournament was a successful tournament for me. I was -- not beat up -- but really disappointed about it,” said 19-year-old Gauff.
“Hearing that from one of the best players in the NBA right now shows that your career is a process.
“Just because you lost doesn’t mean it was a failure. He’s right, there’s no failure in sports. You keep learning. In my personal opinion, the only failure is if you don’t work hard, then that’s a failure in itself.
“But the results? No. You’re always working towards a goal and as long as you’re trying, you either win or you learn. I truly believe that.”
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