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What Richard Branson’s Learned from His Love of Tennis

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Sir Richard Branson.Photograph by Paul Kane — Getty Images

Richard Branson, the billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of Virgin, apparently really loves tennis. And he recently wrote about what he’s learned from playing the sport in a blog post on LinkedIn.

“I see work as just one part of life and it is certainly not more important than play. They are two sides of the same coin,” he wrote. “With that in mind, I wanted to focus in on one of my favourite ways to play — picking up a tennis racquet. Hopefully, the methods I have learned to try to improve my tennis could apply to your business career too.”

In the essay, Branson said how he dreamed of one day playing at Wimbledon, one of the major tennis tournaments. “I didn’t quite have the talent to make it as a pro, but have been a keen amateur all through my life,” he explained. “I love the intensity, the artistry and the excitement of a great tennis match – and it’s a wonderful way to keep fit and relax too.”

His explanations about his passion for tennis also seem to apply doubly as business advice. “Advice from experts is vital if you want to improve a specific skill,” wrote Branson. “I ask lots of questions, and am not afraid to look foolish by asking seemingly obvious questions — sometimes they get the most useful answers,” he added.

Branson goes on to highlight four specific skills he works on to improve his tennis game, which appear to be applicable to business, too. They include: recovery, early preparation, confidence, and practice.

“While I’ll always be a long way from perfect, the more I practice,” Branson concludes, “the closer I will get.”