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The R-factor: The time Bunyawi Thamchaiwat broke a racket

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Cowgirl junior Bunyawi Thamchaiwat returns the ball during the Big 12 Conference Fall Series Championships on Friday, November 6, 2020, at Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater.

Bunyawi Thamchaiwat has broken one tennis racket in all her years of playing tennis.

“I was a kid, I was 17 years old,” OSU junior Thamchaiwat said. “I didn’t hit it that hard, I just slammed the head of the racket to the ground and it broke. That was my first and last time.”

Thamchaiwat wasn’t proud of the fact that she broke the racket, she even told her dad that she had broken it in the process of playing regular tennis. The reason behind Thamchaiwat’s outburst was because of her play on the court.

“I was about to win that match and the opponent came back,” Thamchaiwat said. “I was like, ‘Why are you doing this? Why did you miss the ball? You need to win the match.’ I just got mad at myself and hit the racket to the ground.”

Thamchaiwat described what happens to her after she gets frustrated. Whether it is smashing a racket, slapping a ball away in anger or showing outward displeasure, she always has the same response.

“Every single time that something happens really bad, my conscience is back, my thinking is back, it comes back to positive right away. It’s so weird.”

Weird as it is for her to have this automatic response every time something snaps inside of her, it works in Thamchaiwat’s favor.

She continued describing the match in which she broke the racket.

“When I saw that it was broken, my conscience came back. I was like, ‘Ok I need to focus,’ and then I come back to win,” Thamchaiwat said.

OSU tennis coach Chris Young was asked if, in all his years of playing tennis, he had ever broken a racket.

“Yeah, I don’t want to admit to that,” Young said. “I would say most tennis players have lost their cool at times and those types of things have happened, hopefully for me that was in my past.”

That statement can certainly be interpreted different ways, but one thing for sure is Young and Thamchaiwat have dealt with frustrations on and off the tennis court.

“We talk about it in our program all the time: the R factor, which is how you respond to events in your life,” Young said. “How you respond is going to lead to the right kind of outcomes, and so it’s really important for us to respond properly.”