It was a day of inspiration and excitement, as China's second-ranked tennis player Zhang Shuai visited Western Academy of Beijing on October 26.
After taking time to hit balls with the WAB tennis players inside the Tiger L'Air sports dome, Zhang shared stories and lessons from her career, many of which applied to her life beyond the court.
Zhang told the students to ignore what people say about you; it's impossible to control everything.
"Instead, think about what you're good at and where you can improve. This is much better than focusing on what you're up against."
"Most important of all," she added, "is to believe in yourself."
For JieTai Dorge, a Grade 8 student and tennis player, the day with Zhang Shuai was extra special. JieTai and his family have been following Zhang's career for years, and it was a big moment for him to be able to hit balls with the star. Zhang told JieTai and his classmates about a 14-match slump in her career which she finally ended by beating the then-second ranked player in the world, Simona Halep. It was that story that stuck with the young player.
"Zhang Shaui's presence inspired me to train harder, showing me that anything is possible if you don't give up," JieTai said. "She told me that when you're winning, it's easy to enjoy tennis. But when you're losing, it's a real test of character and you should always focus on your own game and stay positive."
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