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One of the benefits of life as a Roving Player is the chance to watch and learn lessons first-hand from the world's very best tennis players and wisest coaches. As the US Open Series heats up, we thought it would be best to share some pointers with you from the players competing at events all over North America. 

July 30 -- Acura Classic: What you can learn from Venus Williams

Is it truly possible to learn much from a woman of the size, skills and prowess of Venus Williams? The answer is yes. But as unsubtle as Williams' game is, grasping lessons from her tennis has less to do with technique and tactics and more to do with something that's a mix of self-knowledge and willful delusion. 

Venus is a supremely confident competitor. Conceived by her father with tennis in mind, she has a strong belief in her ability to win again and again. 

At one level, her optimism appears misguided. There have been many matches over the years that have revealed her shortcomings. Forehands spray, serves misfire and Venus has often lost amid an ugly heap of unforced errors and poor court management.

Yet the lesson for recreational players is this clear: To win you should approach your matches with exceptional optimism. In victory or defeat, Venus is certain she will win her next match. This is the champion's attitude. It has little to do with skill so much as belief. Yes, unquestionably if your strokes are better you'll be able to compete more effectively. And you must put in that time – as Venus does (check out the improved forehand she showed at Wimbledon this year). But most of all, Venus points to the value of maintaining a positive attitude, of not dwelling indulgently on losses and instead always looking forward to the next battle. Try this mindset after your next loss. 

Venus Williams will be competing this week at the Acura Classic in San Diego. Tune in to the Tennis Channel beginning Friday, August 3rd to watch all the action.

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Oakland-based Joel Drucker is one of the world's leading tennis writers. Author of the book, Jimmy Connors Saved My Life, Drucker's work has appeared in a wide range of print and broadcast media, including Tennis, USTA Magazine, ESPN, CBS and The Tennis Channel. For The Tennis Channel he's worked as an on-air analyst and is co-producer of the program, Center Court with Chris Myers. An avid recreational player, Drucker's lefthanded 4.5 game attempts to combine the tactical array of Brad Gilbert with the variety of John McEnroe, a style he fondly refers to as "Spinning Ugly."