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THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY OF A WIMBLEDON TENNIS PLAYER
By Surina de Beer
COVER ENDORSEMENT BY BILLIE JEAN KING!
Hundreds of thousands of amateur and professional athletes chase their dreams of going for the big win – of being superstars, of having fame, and of experiencing athletic careers of note.
Some succeed and enjoy astounding careers, only to feel without purpose when they are derailed by an injury or forced to retire due to age.
Some achieve a modicum of success then find themselves being replaced by others who are rising up greater than they are. Still, others pursue athletic careers that never get off the ground.
The Spiritual Journey of a Wimbledon Tennis Player offers a healing balm for amateur and professional athletes who face disappointment, disillusionment, depression, and who suffer from a loss of identity, or a sense of purpose when their athletic dreams end – or have come crashing to a halt!
Author, Surina De Beer, played at Wimbledon and was rising up the ranks when an injury forced her to leave the world of professional tennis. De Beer had a successful junior career in which she reached the #1 ranking in the world under 16. She won 2 Junior US Open Doubles titles and turned pro at the age of 18. She had played in all 4 Grand Slams and reached the 3rd round of Wimbledon in Singles in ‘98. She reached a career high ranking of 109 in Singles and 49 in Doubles on the WTA Tour (Professional Women Tennis Association Tour). Throughout her career, she won a total of 46 career ITF (International Tennis Federation) Titles, contributing to her WTA ranking.
De Beer judged herself for not achieving God-like, history-breaking records. When injuries sent her into early retirement from tennis, she spiraled into a life of drugs and cycles of addiction. Compounded with the death of her wife, the once-promising athlete lost her mooring in life – her sense of identity and a reason for being.
The Spiritual Journey of a Wimbledon Tennis Player is an inspirational memoir in which De Beer shares the physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual journey she underwent to rebuild a fractured life.
Her intent is to inspire others who have put everything into their sport and who did not achieve or live up to their expectations, or who had to leave their sport for whatever reason, so that they, too, can create value in their lives beyond their sport, and ultimately, inspire others themselves.
“Athletes live in a high state of ‘flow’ or of being in ‘the zone’ as they chase their dreams. Being in the state of flow feeds their souls and energizes them. But when their sport is suddenly taken away, they have no access to that state of flow. This loss causes athletes to experience depression and ‘spiritual bankruptcy.'
Athletes must find new ways to regain their ‘present moment of bliss’ of getting into ‘the zone,’ when their careers end. Drugs may temporarily take a person into a blissful state, but drugs will not contribute to that person’s overall well-being in the long term.”
De Beer shares the steps she took, and the rules she lived by, to rebuild a life of purpose, meaning, and of being of value to herself and to others once her career in sports ended.
Losses in life – whether from the end of a career,or any other major loss involving one’s identity – feel like a spiritual death. Yet, they are a spiritual wakeup call. Life is not over, but for the person who experiences that loss, it feels like it is.
There is life after sports – or after any time-sensitive career – regardless of one’s financial success or lack thereof, and regardless of the results that were achieved or that remain pipe dreams.
It is possible for high-performance athletes to positively affect others, leave their own version of a legacy, and direct their lives by living an inspired life after their sporting careers. De Beer leads the way!