Dubai: This tennis player will inspire you to bounce back from a failure

Arianne Hartono is no Serena Williams, but she is quite good at it — good enough to win three ITF tournaments

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Arianne Hartono poses with the runner-up trophy at the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge. — Photos by Rituraj Borkakoty
Arianne Hartono poses with the runner-up trophy at the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge. — Photos by Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Tue 12 Dec 2023, 12:08 AM

How do you bounce back from the failure to attain something you strongly desire?

You may visit an expert for professional help if no one in your family has managed to calm your nerves.

Or, you may just get lucky and bump into Arianne Hartono who will just ask you to accept every failure with a smile on your face.

Hartono is not a psychologist.

This young woman with Dutch and Indonesian heritage plays tennis for a living.

She is no Serena Williams, but she is quite good at tennis — good enough to win three ITF tournaments.

Last Sunday in Dubai, she had a shot at winning her fourth final at this level.

In the end, she lost the title decider at the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge to Russia’s Anastasia Tikhonova.

She had set up a final clash with Tikhonova after a stirring run in the tournament, winning two epic three-setters.

But she just could not find her best form in the biggest match of the tournament.

After that final setback, she could have been forgiven for a grumpy face.

It would have been perfectly acceptable to see her disappear into the changing room after the presentation ceremony.

But she embraced the runner-up trophy as though it was her baby.

And with an infectious smile, she warmed every heart, posing with every ball kid, every line official and every young player on the court.

Arianne Hartono poses with the line officials after the final.
Arianne Hartono poses with the line officials after the final.

Smile, please

Her mantra is simple, wear a smile and be passionate about what you do.

Hartono credits her parents for her ability to always look on the bright side.

“It's definitely my parents who taught me to be happy, whatever I am doing, and I'm just so passionate about tennis,” she told the Khaleej Times during an on-court chat.

“I love that I'm out here doing what I love and life cannot be better. When you're so passionate about something, you cannot help but smile regardless of the result in a match.”

The first Dutch player to win the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship at the University of Mississippi, Hartono says she will always wear a smile on her face as long as she plays tennis.

“Whether your results or your performance is great or not, it doesn't matter as long as you love what you're doing and it should make you wake up with a smile on your face,” she said.

Hartono then left an inspiring message for aspiring tennis players in the UAE and the region.

“My advice is to follow your own path. Tennis is a very individual sport. And it's very important that you follow what you think is best for you,” she said.

“So everyone has to do what they think is best for their tennis and whenever someone says no, go somewhere else and do it your own way!”

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