Tennis: Possibly the Best Sport

So I haven’t mentioned my love of sports much on this blog. I guess I keep it mostly to mom stuff. But as G get older, I hope that sports become a large part of his life.

To start, I must say, I love the month of September. Football is starting, baseball is getting to crunch time, and one of the best majors in tennis is going on: The U.S. Open.

I’ve loved tennis since I was a pre-teen. My father taught me all about it and we used to watch Wimbledon and the U.S. Open when we spent summers together. I have so many great memories of watching tennis, especially the U.S. Open. It is the only grand slam on American soil, so it has the best media coverage in the states during the year. The flashy colors, the night matches, and the crazy American fans just make the U.S. Open such a unique tennis experience. One of my dreams in life is to visit NYC during the U.S. Open

While I love a few other sports, and respect most others, I think that tennis might be the best. Of course, these are my own musing and for my own reasons, I have developed this love and reverence for the sport. Here are just a few of the reason why I think that tennis is the best:

1) Mental Toughness – This might be the biggest reason I think that tennis is the tops. Because it is an individual sport vs. a team sport, it requires a level of mental toughness that other sports do not. You don’t get signs from the dugout, you don’t have a headset with someone feeding you plays, and you don’t have teammate to strategize with (I am only including singles in the conversation; doubles tennis is its own beast). It’s just you out there. While you can look to your coaches box during play, on the change overs you have to sit and think about what you did wrong, what you can do to improve, and how to raise your game. This requires a mental toughness that not many other sports require.

2) Endurance – I have seen tennis matches that last hours and hours. Again, you do get to sit during the change over, but it’s not like football or basketball where you get subs that come in and play for you while you sit on the bench. Whether you’re tired or not, when the change over is done, you have to get back in the match. It doesn’t matter if it is 20 minutes in or five hours in. You have to push through the fatigue. You also have to keep playing the game until it is over. There are no time outs if you get tired or overwhelmed. You have to play through the game no matter how long it lasts. Again, that is physical and mental endurance.

3) Continuous Schedule – There is really no tennis “season.” There are season surfaces, like spring is clay courts and summer is grass courts. The rest of the season is hard court. But other than that, tennis keeps going. While players can pass on tournaments if they want to rest up for a major, they really do just keep playing all the time. They travel all over the world, to almost every continent to play the sport they love. It seems like the breaks are few and far between.

4) To Get Paid, You Must Play – This is another favorite of mine. For good or bad, with tennis, if you want to get paid, you not only have to play in a tournament, you have to do well. There aren’t contracts that continue to pay out whether you get benched or not. If you don’t play a tournament, you pass up on any money. If you have an early exit, you get less money, or possibly none at all. And because of the nature of tennis. You actually have to show up, play well, and perform before you get to see any money.

5) The Scoring is Cooky – This one is just a goofy thought from me but I love the scoring in tennis because it is almost nonsense. Love? To 15? To 30? To 40? Don’t even get me started on Deuce and Advantage. Oh, and even keeping track of the games and sets can be bananas for a novice tennis fan. It has its own language (like most sports) and its own adorable culture. That is something I really love about it.

As tennis becomes more diverse and exciting, I can’t help but track with and enjoy watching it grown and change as a sport. I hope it is a sport that my child gets to experience and even enjoys himself.

As I sit here watching the U.S. Open, even while the first football game of the season is on, with my team playing (albeit, losing), I relish the fact that tennis is a sport that has stayed in my life and hope it continues to do so.