Earlier this month, Delia Zanoschi and Tum Preugpaibul (RCs) announced the winners of the inaugural HBS exceptional athlete awards, an initiative they started this year to recognize the best athletes at HBS. This week, Delia and Tum interviewed HBS Class of 2016 exceptional athlete winner John Watts.
JOHN WATTS: TENNIS
SECTION H, WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, USA
What are the three key areas that have carried you to winning titles?
Hardwork, competitive nature of the sport and ways to consistently get better are three areas I would focus on. Practice hard so that when you get to the match you can focus on playing your best.
What drove you to play competitively?
I just enjoyed the thrill of the natural competition. As you win a match, you start playing with people who are better and better. Once you lose a match and see that other people are better, you go home and think about how you can get better.
When you think of tennis, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Me and my friends out on a court, no spectators, sunny day. We are all having fun and hitting the ball around. Less of the competitive side, less of the improvement and more about being there because you enjoy being outside and being with your friend.
What advice would you give to people?
Always try to improve/get better. It’s like the TOM analogy always scale the mountain but you want to find the next mountain
On the one hand, tennis teaches me to be able to have both a short term and a long term focus. You are playing tennis match today so the only thing you focus on is the game. At the same time you are playing and you are trying to incorporate things you have learnt for the future. It also taught me sportsmanship –everyone calls all their lines – you have to trust that people are fair. If you treat somebody honestly and fairly, they will treat you the same.