I started playing tennis, a couple of months back, more out of curiosity since I had never played on a tennis court before, but now I have got hooked on to it. It all started with the usual guilt feeling of missing out on games and sports, but now it's part of my daily life. I have always found the game fascinating to watch, loved watching matches at Center court, the Roland Garros and the other Grand slams, but never thought playing could be much more a fun too. As someone so aptly put-Tennis is an addiction that once it has truly hooked a man will not let him go.
Tennis is one of the most popular spectator and participation sports in the world, with fans and competitors in more than 100 countries. Millions of people, most of them amateurs, play the game worldwide, either as recreation or in amateur tournaments. It's truly a great mental and physical game. As Pete Sampras sums it - "It's one-on-one out there, man. There ain't no hiding. I can't pass the ball."
I started first understanding and following tennis when the unseeded Boris Becker, only 17 at that time, beat Kevin Curren in 1985 to win the Wimbledon title. Watching him firing those booming aces at the Center court to hapless opponents make me hook on to the game. Although for a first time watcher, the rules appear slightly queer, over time, I have managed to understand the rules and appreciate the art and beauty of the game.
Once I started playing and got coached, I realized tennis is a mind game too. I realize now looking back how the greats - Sampras, McEnroe, Connors, Becker, Agassi, Steffi all combined a mix of tactical, technical, physical and mental abilities to reach the top of sports. The game I used to watch as a competition sport, is something I see very differently now. I have learned the importance of grip, balancing the body, controlling the shots, the power of serve, how to play tennis from the net and the baseline and all the intricacies of it. Although I can hardly call myself a pro yet I am happy with the learning curve. It is something I look forward to everyday, and truly keeps me going. The best thing about waking up in the morning is no longer the cup of tea, but hitting the courts.
I play with players from all age groups from 12-65 year old and I realize how everyone cashes in on their dominant strengths and pushes the fight to the opponent. Its fun to play with small school going kids (may be 12 year old). The seriousness with which they approach the game makes you stand up and watch. I have played with oldies who have amazing serve and volley as well as great eyes for placing the ball in far corners of the court. If you play tennis you will learn never to underestimate your opponent this is what I take back from the courts everyday.
I am still practicing to put in more power to my serve, although I like the fact that my percentage of first serves are high, I need to improve and develop a strong backhand if I wish to play competitive tennis and improve my stamina by leaps and bounds.
With mumbai monsoons round the corner I am sure my tennis will take a beating but I am aiming that by winter I should be ready for local club level competition. As they say - Champions keep playing till they get it right.
My aim is to be able to serve aces, play the lob, overhead smash and the lob perfectly by October. I also realize that I need to play more passionately and get involved 200% while playing no other thought should cross my head then. I also need to read up more on the game specially on the techniques and watch more tournament coverages. I will keep updating this post with tennis updates.