MADRID -- Coco Gauff and Maria Sakkari were both up at the crack of dawn to prepare for their early starts on Day 3 of the Mutua Madrid Open. When they opened their social media, Gauff and Sakkari were both greeted by the viral press conference moment from NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Both found themselves nodding their heads. 

Gauff, Sakkari lead Top 10 into Madrid third round

Following the Milwaukee Bucks' surprising first-round exit to the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs, Antetokounmpo was asked whether he considered the season a failure. The Greek-Nigerian star laid out a firm answer all tennis players could relate to. 

"It's not a failure; it's steps to success," Antetokounmpo said. "There's always steps to it. Michael Jordan played 15 years, won six championships. The other nine years was a failure? That's what you're telling me?

"It's a wrong question; there's no failure in sports. There's good days, bad days. Some days you're able to be successful, some days you're not. Some days it's your turn, some days it's not your turn. And that's what sports is about. You don't always win. Sometimes other people win. And this year somebody else is going to win, simple as that."

Professional players take losses nearly every week. This week in Madrid, the draw features 96 players gunning for the title. All but one will lose a match, pack up their bags and start again at the next tournament. 

"He always says that tennis is the toughest sport," fellow Greek athlete Sakkari said when asked about Antetokounmpo . "He has spoken to me about how tough our sport is. Tennis is a sport where we lose every week and you have to go again and erase it and go again from zero."

Lather, rinse, repeat for an 11-month season. Keeping your focus on the big picture is one of the sport's hardest lessons to learn.

After opening her Madrid campaign with a 6-4, 6-1 win against Irene Burillo Escorihuela, Coco Gauff said she found Antetokounmpo's words refreshing and relatable. 

"I almost felt like if I didn't win, it was a failure," Gauff said. "After Roland Garros [last year], it took me a long time to realize that tournament was a successful tournament for me. I was -- not beat up -- but really disappointed about it. Hearing that from one of the best players in the NBA right now shows that your career is a process. 

"Just because you lost doesn't mean it was a failure. He's right, there's no failure in sports. You keep learning. In my personal opinion, the only failure is if you don't work hard, then that's a failure in itself. But the results? No. You're always working towards a goal and as long as you're trying, you either win or you learn. I truly believe that."

Given how well she knows her compatriot, Sakkari was not surprised he offered such a heartfelt and candid perspective. 

"Maybe it's a wake-up call for everyone outside of sports to understand what it means when you lose or when you don't achieve your goals," Sakkari said. "It's not the end of the world. 

"I'm sure he's very disappointed that they didn't make it further, but the way he's handling it and his whole mentality is very unique. That's why he's one of the best in the world and that's why he's my idol, because not only is he a freak as an athlete, I think mentally he's a freak as well."