To the unknowing, tennis can seem like a game over over-the-top grunting, strange ball bouncing and a lot of back-and-forth neck ache, but as true fans, we all know that each of these things has its place in the game – okay, we could probably do without the neck ache, but no pain no gain! Tennis, like any sport, has its stereotypes, its skills and its necessary evils and fans of the game tend to know these inside out but for those of you not quite ‘in-the-know’, keeping up and finding these out for yourself could prove frustrating. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a quick list of things that only tennis fans will understand.
Your Opinion Of Wind Depends On Where Your Player Is Standing
Wind can be a player’s best friend or their worst enemy in a game and it can all come down to the side of the court that they’re standing on and how much experience they have in doing so. Of course, there are plenty of tips for playing in the wind, but ultimately, it can all come down to experience and a little bit of luck. If they’re playing against the wind, chances are they are going to need a stronger hit, to adjust their grip or their swing and even consider using spin. Some players pretty much do this naturally but for those us placing our faith in up-and-coming stars, a particularly gusty day could be our worst nightmare!
Yes, It Is Necessary To Bounce The Ball Before Play
For the ignorant, the entire ritual of taking three balls, bouncing them all and eventually chucking one back to the ball boy or girl can seem like a ridiculous and pointless notion – but we fans know better. While this is a bit of a ritual for a lot of players, there’s also a pretty understandable reason for it too – it gives them an idea of how the ball is likely to travel. By bouncing the ball, the player gets a feel for the quality, tension and overall bounce of any one ball, which also explains why they often chuck one back. They pick the two best, tuck one in their pocket, and serve with the other. Simple.
The Surface Can Change The Entire Experience
Whether you’re a tennis player yourself who has a particular favorite surface or you’re just a fan who has a particular preference when it comes to watching the game, the style and material of any tennis court can actually make quite a substantial difference. There are three main types of surfaces used in tennis – Clay, Hard Court and Grass – and this can often depend on the location of the facility. After all, countries with harder rainfall might opt for a hard court as they take much less time to dry, but their grass courts can usually appear more well-kept simply due to regular rainfall. Drier countries could benefit from a clay court, as they are slightly more forgiving on the body and fairly easy to maintain.
Every player will have their preference and a surface that they’ll excel on, but each court style can actually change the entire style of play. Grass courts, for example, offer a much quicker style of play. There’s much less friction for the ball to contend with when it bounces, so players will need shorter swings and faster footwork, while hard courts and clay courts will slow down the ball upon bounce and you’ll need much more precise and stronger footwork to keep you and the ball moving.
The Noises Definitely Make A Difference
For those looking to be more aggressive on the court, grunting can seem like a pretty sure-fire way to do just that but that’s not all that all of the noise can do. While ‘casual fans’ and those that just catch a game from time to time might find themselves pulling faces at the overly enthusiastic grunting passing from player to player, the science behind this activity is actually well worth knowing! Grunting, while a potential distraction for any opponent, could actually be a great way to increase ball velocity and the power of a hit. A study conducted in 2014 suggested that ball velocity increased by 3.8% when players grunted, so there’s actually substantial evidence suggesting that all of that racket is worth it.
Andy Murray Is British… Until He’s Not.
It has been a long time debated issue as to whether Andy Murray, one of Britain’s key tennis players, is actually British and not just Scottish. Generally, British fans, in particular, seem to consider Murray British until he loses a match – coincidence? We think not. After Murray’s Wimbledon win in 2016, British paper The Daily Mirror released an ‘official’ report stating that Andy Murry was ‘finally, definitely British’ and the entire nation certainly seemed to agree! Well, until he lost Wimbledon in 2017 due to a hip injury, that is.
‘Deuce’ Is The Most Frustrating Word You’ll Hear
When a tennis match falls to ‘deuce’, you know you’re probably in it for the long haul. Match after match is spent watching the ball go back and forth but when things hit deuce stages, especially between two equally skilled players, you might as well give your neck a bit of a rest because you’ll probably have the time! If you’re unlucky enough to head out to a match with a long string of deuces, just stop and remember this – it can’t be as bad as watching the world-record match of May 1975 in the first round at Sutton, Great Britain that featured a whopping 37 deuces. It’ll be over soon, we promise.
Tennis fans are quite the dedicated bunch, aren’t they? From learning the ins and outs of the game, the court and its surfaces to having to exercise an inhuman level of patience at the tensest of moments, it can take just as much skill to be a fan as a player! What do you think? Did you know any of the points on this list?