Originally Published: January 26, 2012 10:30 p.m.
There are all kinds of reasons people learn the game of tennis, but to continue playing year after year for most of a life time there must be more to it than meets the eye.
Thus, I have queried a few players for their thoughts in what continues to make this unique game fun and appealing to them.
Junior tennis phenom and 11-year-old Taylor Johnson said, "Everything about tennis appeals to me. I love to compete and play hard. I love the atmosphere of tennis, making new friends, tournaments and traveling."
Liz Murrieta a local mid-twenty something 4.0 level tennis player said, "Being able to share this sport with my mom makes it fun for me. I really enjoy the time we spend on the court together as well as the time off the court we spend talking tennis and trying to improve our games. It's very special to share the love of this game with her and I'm blessed that she puts up with me out on the courts."
Dr. Allen Fox, former NCAA singles champion, tennis professional, Davis Cup player, Pepperdine coach, current author and psychologist states, "I enjoy the feeling of competence when I hit the ball and it goes where I want. And I like the exercise that comes, unlike a treadmill, free as a byproduct of competing."
Tennis chairman for the Hidden Valley subdivision, Orlo Jantz, said, "Tennis is a challenging, frustrating, and satisfying game. I love it. It allows me to get fresh air, good exercise and offers a great interaction with fellow players. At my age, the little things like missed line calls don't matter so much anymore - the important thing is that I made it to the tennis court one more time. It's a game for anyone at any age!"
"It's the combination of the intellectual and physical challenge of trying to make my mind and my body respond quickly to one new situation after another," said Karen Spear. 'I never tire of the artistry of trying to hit the ball well and the constant effort to solve a steady string of puzzles that take place in time and space. After a long career as an academic, with its slow and careful analysis, I'm always fascinated with the rapid responses that tennis requires.
Judge Arthur Markham enjoys the game of tennis because, "It gets me out of the office, gives some exercise in the great outdoors and you get to spend some time exchanging war stories."
Local musician Tom Winker says, "Tennis is fun for me because I get to spend time with people who have become good friends over the years - exercise without thinking about it - and I enjoying reacting to great and horrible shots (my own included)."
What makes tennis fun, asked Lisa Cook, President of the Prescott Area Tennis Association? "Learning how to put assorted spins on a ball to make it do all sorts of things, i.e., smacking it hard, but keeping it in the court by using topspin, gentle underspin to drop it over the net or to watch it rise then sink low and skid. A tennis ball can do some very interesting things. Figuring out what the opponent is doing to win points and figuring out how to work around that. The social aspect of tennis is a lot of the fun."
Wayne Bryan, father of the No. 1 doubles team in the world (Bob and Mike Bryan) and to me the No. 1 ambassador in the game today said, "Everything about the game is and should be fun. Practice, group games, drills, round robins, practice singles matches, practice doubles matches, tournaments, junior team tennis, high school tennis, college tennis, adult leagues, pro tennis, Davis Cup, Fed Cup, World Team Tennis and the US Open! Saturday morning doubles matches at your local club or park or school! Opening a brand new can of balls is fun for crying out loud! Our sport brings people together in a healthy and exciting environment. It creates life-long friendships, and I even think tennis is a great force for world peace. That's all I've got right now cause I'm headin' over to the courts to work out with Mike n' Bob."
As for me, being a player, coach-instructor, writer and semi-historian of the game, whenever the chips have up or down the game of tennis has been there as a comfort. It gives back what you expend, ten-fold in every avenue imaginable. With friends of all ages, abilities, professions and backgrounds; competition up and down the ladder for both sexes; exercise and better health; drive and determination, mixed with fair-play and emotional satisfaction. It taxes your mind and body, yet it doesn't cost you an arm and leg to play. Unlike many other sports, this one you can keep playing until you can't walk. I love what the game of tennis has given me.
And if you go online and look up this column - at the conclusion of it, there's a place you can type in the reasons you find this game fun as well. I would enjoy to reading your thoughts.