It does not matter if it has been two or three hours, two or three sets, if it's match point you play it like there's no tomorrow.
Wanganui's junior national tennis champion and senior runner-up Paige Hourigan learnt more in one Sunday afternoon than a thousand practice sessions could teach her from the defeat to Imogen Golder in a thrilling playoff at the New Zealand Championships in Albany.
Back in Wanganui getting the last-minute Christmas groceries done on Monday, Hourigan said she was plainly emotional when victory slipped through her fingers, but knows now she will be all the better for it.
"Every time I got a match point I just thought about winning instead of focusing on what I was doing.
"Hopefully next time my nerves don't take over and I'll be better prepared."
Hourigan, 15, held the first set 6-4 with Golder, 20, before the her older rival's consistency showed through as she quickly wrapped up the second set 6-0.
It is telling that Hourigan still looked the more powerful forcing Golder to serve at 5-6 down in the third set.
The Wanganui teenager had two match points in this game, but Golder, back from her scholarship at Indiana's Purdue University, ground it out and held serve to reach the tiebreak.
Four more match points proved a point too far for Hourigan to take the title.
But the teenager went from agony to ecstasy when ASB Classic tournament director Karl Budge comforted her and said he had seen enough to know she deserved a shot at the big time.
"It was pretty cool actually. He came over to me and said 'I just love the way you play'."
A wild card entry is a chance to qualify for the premier women's tournament in New Zealand and was a key goal for Hourigan this season.
It got better when the teenager learned she will join fellow Wanganui standout Emma Hayman who won the doubles title in Albany in the extended New Zealand Federation Cup squad. The rest of the team is Marina Erakovic, Di Hollands, Abigail Guthrie and unless injury prevents it, Emily Fanning.
Now confirmed for a shot at the ASB Classic, Hourigan took a couple of days off for Christmas with the family, before returning to Auckland today for training with coach Steve Downes.