Aside from running, I’d have to say that tennis is my favorite sport. At a young age, my parents got me out on the tennis court and taught me the basics of the game. Tennis quickly became of love of mine, that would last my entire life.
I played a lot growing up. First, I played a great deal with my brother, who is three years older than me. We would ride our bikes down to the High School, and hit balls whenever we had the chance. I also was lucky enough to take tennis lessons during the long, cold winters in upstate NY. I played for my High School team, from 8th grade on. First I played doubles, and once I was able to compete with the older guys, I played singles. I had a very successful High School tennis career. I even made it to the State Qualifier tournament my last two years in school. I also won a few Mixed Doubles tournament on a local level during my college years.
From that point on, I played a lot of recreational tennis with buddies in college, and had a blast. Tennis is great for keeping in shape, and overall fitness. I played USTA tennis on a local Men’s team a few seasons, until I really got into running. Honestly, I had to stop playing tennis so much because of an issue with my elbow, that just hasn’t gone away in over 7 years now. Surgery is really the only option I have left, so I’ve chosen to just play tennis occasionally with my sons.
Back when I was growing up, I watched a lot of tennis on TV. Back in the days when I think professional tennis was in its heyday. I loved watching Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. I am not so much a fan of the power game that tennis technology has brought into the game these days. I loved the finesse, and angles, the net game and longevity that used to be a part of the sport. I absolutely loved Steffi Graf! She brought an excitement to the game, that I think was unmatched.
Steffi was so much fun to watch! She had great speed, reflexes, and nerve. She had a hugely successful career, and still holds many records to this day.
John McEnroe was my favorite on the men’s side. His style of play, tenacity, and on court antics were so much more fun to watch than tennis today.
Maybe I am showing my age, but I prefer a tennis game that was more thoughtful than powerful. I actually like to watch tennis players construct points, and think. The power game today is so much less interesting. Hitting a 140 mph ace, time and time again, short points of a shot or two or three, not thrilling. I want to watch long rallies and really care about tennis again. In times gone by, when a Grand Slam was on TV, I would be glued to the television, trying to watch as much as I could. I barely watch it anymore. It’s very sad to me. I have no interest in watching players like Serena Williams, who rely solely on power. That is just not fun to watch. Not to me anyway.
I do however, have a few chances left to see some good tennis. I am thrilled that Lleyton Hewitt, and Ana Ivanovic are still in the draw. Great ground strokes, and fun to watch. I will be cheering both of them on today, and wishing that tennis could return to a less powerful game. A game where the player wins, not the racquet.
Tennis, my first love, but now a close second to running.