“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” — Colossians 4:5
At the start of 2020, Russian tennis player Aslan Karatsev was ranked No. 263 in the world. He’d been playing challenger tournaments for years and had never made it into a major. Nobody knew about the guy.
A year later, Karatsev played the qualifiers for the Australian Open and made it into the main draw. To everyone’s stunned surprise, he rolled through the tournament, ending up in the semifinals as the first qualifier in close to 40 years to make it that far in a major. ESPN commentator Brad Gilbert called it “the story of the tournament.”
Practically overnight, Karatsev had become an instant sensation. His ATP Cup teammates — Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov — all called him the “secret weapon.” By the end of the Australian Open, he was no longer a secret. And, as proof that his “Cinderella” run was no fluke, he went on to win the Dubai Tennis Championships in March, reach a career-high ranking of No. 27 in the world, and compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
In much the same fashion, rising 19-year-old Italian superstar Lorenzo Musetti was unranked just a couple years ago. In just the past six months, he’s beaten world No. 9 Diego Schwartzman, as well as four other former top-10 players, and become the youngest player in the top 100.
Months ago, nobody had heard of either Karatsev or Musetti, but now they are two of the most dangerous and respected opponents on tour with a dazzling game to go along with them.
For Karatsev, he’s waited a long time for this chance. He’s 28 … years past when most make their debut in a major or become any sort of competitive threat in the sport. He’s bided his time and worked hard, holding out for an opportunity when it came knocking. Whether for him toward the middle of his career or Musetti at the beginning, both are proof of what Brad Gilbert said when he remarked about Karatsev, “You never know when it’s your time.”
Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The great secret of success in life is for a man to be ready when his opportunity comes.” You have to prepare, dream and keep fighting for an opportunity, no matter how unlikely it seems. You have to keep working toward your goals regardless of whether or not you’re getting the breaks you want or feel you deserve. Sometimes those who quietly bide their time and stay ready — who ride the bench or suit up on the sideline, the backups or alternates who know the chance is slim they’ll see the field or the court — are the ones for whom opportunity, when it knocks, means the most.
You never know when it’s your time to shine … when your coach will call on you or God will call on you and put you in … when you will get that opportunity you’ve been waiting all your life for. Keep trusting the plan, and don’t forget to do all the little things right so you’re ready when it comes, because today just might be the day it all changes. Today might be your time.
— Katherine Singer
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