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Is tennis the perfect sport or is it just me?

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Post by socal1976 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 5:07 am

I know fans of other sports may disagree with me, but the thing that draws me to tennis is that Agassi put it best it is such a comprehensive game. You need physical fitness, speed, technical proficiency, mental toughness, and it is a one on one competition. I often view tennis as chess with a lot of sweating involved. Every player has a playbook that you as his opponent have to figure out. A great match player is like the lion in the jungle, he smells weakness and he attacks it, but first you have to spot it and how to best exploit it. Many players it is the backhand, some players have a particular proclivity to go up the line on a particular return and cross court or inside out on the other side of the return. These are just two examples of the tendencies you have to watch out for, does the player chip ever backhand return, does he lob or go for the pass. I find that tennis is a game that is both physical and so mental and it is something unique in sports. It combines technique, athleticism,focus, fitness, speed, strength and all the elements of competition into a wonderful package. And there is no coach to rely on, no teammates it is mano y mano and all the factors discussed come into play. What for me makes tennis special for me is again as agassi puts it such a comprehensive or total sport. If you have a weakness your opponent will find it and you have no where to hide. If you have a strength you try to make it decisive.

Additionally so much strategy and tactical precision is involved in the game that those who don't play or don't follow it closely will never know. When do you chip a ball, when do you go up the line, when do you come to net, when do you go with the wide serve. I love poker and chess, and I view tennis in many ways as the physical manifestation of these two games. In poker you have to read your opponent the cards are really secondary, especially in no limit or pot limit game. In chess you have to craft a battle plan and pick the right sequence of moves which will unlock your opponents defenses. To me tennis is the physical version of these two games. Technical, strategic, and physical all in one. I just hope I can play it as long as possible. Is tennis unique or am I just another fan who views something special in this game that he loves.

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Post by lydian Sun 17 Feb 2013, 7:29 am

A key thing is the unique scoring system...allows players to come back from the dead no matter if 6-0 6-0 5-0 and 40-0. That also makes it a fantastic spectator sport too. The term "5 set thriller" tells us what a close, long epic means to many people. Otherwise, yes agree it's a perfect blend of mental and physical agility played within a gladiatorial setting...one on one combat almost, so appeals to our primordial combat desire. Tennis, 2nd to angling, is the most participated global sport, so many people agree with the view of it being the ideal sport. Finally, it's also a physical sport you can play from 4 to 84...from novice to adept to mature shall we say...and you can play on your own or as part of a team...across differing surfaces and settings - what other sport can boast all this?
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Post by socal1976 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 7:40 am

Great addition to thread one thing I love about the sport is like you say it is a sport for players from age 4 to 84. I see a lot of the older guys out there they only play doubles but hell they enjoy it and it is competition and still very physical. I just find that it is very complex game with a lot of layers and that is what turns me on about it. I am sure other sports are very complex but few lend themselves to the mind and body experience tennis is. I don't know what it is you just hit that perfect shot and for one shot the ball you strike looks as good as one of the pros and it gives you a deeper connection to what you watch on tv. I try everything I see on tv and that I like and more often than not I can pull off a rough copy here and there, and I don't that is something special about tennis that I don't get from watching two steroid freaks beat each others brains out or a guy speed around a track at 250 miles an hour.

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Post by HM Murdock Sun 17 Feb 2013, 7:42 am

Good post Socal.

I agree with everything you said. A couple of aspects that I also really like:

- the variety with which a match can turn.

It can be a quick "smash and grab" like Fed did to Andy at the end of the 2nd at Wimbledon. But it can also be a 20 minute game which goes through 10 deuces as pressure is consistently applied (like Fed did to Andy in the 3rd set at Wimbledon! Sorry to the Andy fans for those two examples!)

By extension, you can never be totally sure a game is safe until the final point is won. There's no equivalent of "going 3-0 up and seeing the game out" like you can in football

- the oddities in match ups.

Roger finds Rafa tougher than Novak. Rafa finds Novak tougher than Roger. Novak finds Roger tougher than Rafa.

And then you get the more surprising ones. Why does Berdych do well against Andy but struggle so much against the similar game of Novak?

This always adds a layer of intrigue to any event.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 7:48 am

Good post Murdoch, I agree fully I go back to my poker analogy. A large part of tennis is playing the man and not the cards. The same formula Berdych has against Andy that works well for him doesn't work for Novak. The same formula Novak has for Nadal lets say doesn't work for federer and vis a versa. It is by its very nature a reactive competition and a dynamic one, every opponent is a little different and requires a different formula to unlock.

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Post by HM Murdock Sun 17 Feb 2013, 8:01 am

And, following on from your idea of "playing the man", I can't think of another sport where it's so clear that a player is wilting. How many times do we see the underdog get themselves in a position to beat one of the top guys... and then be unable to find a first serve and start coughing up errors? The game is there but the mind has buckled.

Also, extending the match ups point, it's not just the "the man", the game styles make intriguing match ups too. Powerful but slower players against weaker but agile players. Colossal serves against incredible returners of serve. Flamboyant but inconsistent shot makers against steady but consistent grinders.

These match ups become fascinating because tennis players have to do everything. In many team sports for example, a player is a 'defender'. It doesn't matter if they have no attacking skill, their job is to defend.

In tennis though, a player has to turn their hand to everything if they want to be successful. There's nowhere to hide a weakness.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 8:25 am

Yes murdoch it is pretty amazing when you watch someone come apart at the seams like that. Mentally, tennis tests you in away that I think team sports don't. There is no where to hide, if you miss a shot you can't hide behind a teammate. In a five set match in particular there are ebbs and flows, especially when you have two pretty evenly matched opponents. And often it just comes down to the guy who manages those ups and downs the best. For awhile one guy gets flowing and the other player has to hold on till his shots come. One thing I always enjoy is watching a player fight off physical fatigue and mental frustration to find away at the end. Take the wawrinka v. Djoko match at the AO, in many ways Wawrinka was the better player till it counted once it got tight you almost new Djokovic was going to pull it off, and shot wise or talent wise there isn't that much that separates two top notch players but it just seems that one guy is tougher mentally believes more and when the opportunity arises you know he will take it.

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Post by Danny_1982 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 9:40 am

Great article, and great responses too.

I agree with everything that has been said. No other sport has the variety of surface, the combination of mental, physical and technical pressure over such long periods of time (5 or 6 hours) or as good a scoring system.

I do enjoy football, but that passion has diminished somewhat as it is a sport now decided by the wallet of your owner... With tennis all that matters is how good you are, how fit you are, how much you want it, and can you do it on the day better that the person on the other side.

I love lots of sports, but for me NOTHING beats a great tennis match in a big tournament.

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Post by carrieg4 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 9:59 am

Great article Socal, I fully agree thumbsup

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Post by banbrotam Sun 17 Feb 2013, 2:26 pm

Good article, Socal clap

I keep getting hassle off my son as I never watch the latest 'big' footie match (i.e. Real v Man U) to such a degree he sarcastically praises me when I watch the occasional English match

Or berates me by asking why if I can watch any 'rubbish' Tennis match, why can't I show at least 10% commitment to TV footie!!

I then wiped the floor with him as I easily won the argument as to which is the toughest sport and which guarantees most entertainment Is tennis the perfect sport or is it just me? 3933776953

Tennis is now my No.1 sport - but I am still loyal to footie, but only via the mighty Bantams

Which us luck at Wembley next Sunday Fingers Crossed

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Post by Danny_1982 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 2:51 pm

Banbro - I wish you luck next week, but only through gritted teeth... I am an Aston Villa fan you see. furious

I too am loyal to football, but I think a big Murray match in a big tournament beats most Villa games nowadays for me. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a Villa game as much as the Olympic semi and final, or the NewYork final.

Mind you, it's tough to compare... Murray is world class and Villa are pretty atrocious. Laugh might be different if they weren't.

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Post by lags72 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 3:36 pm

Hmm .... "Is tennis the perfect sport or is it just me?"

No .... I reckon it's just you socal.

Only joking !! Cool

Very good article OK

It's sometimes hard to put into words quite what attracts us all to this great sport, and obviously different aspects of tennis can mean more (or less) to some folk than others ; but you've summed up very well (albeit with the acknowledged help from a certain Mr Agassi) its fundamental and enduring appeal.

I'm always impressed to see you come up with stuff like this socal, ie the sort of stuff that gives a wider perspective on things. I know you will still be banging on in future about the players you really really like whilst taking a good few swipes at those you don't ; and to a large extent that's perfectly understandable. But IMHO you can go off the rails at times with some of your more extreme thoughts/views socal, so all credit for a calm and thoughtful article ..!!


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Post by banbrotam Sun 17 Feb 2013, 4:54 pm

Danny_1982 wrote:but I think a big Murray match in a big tournament beats most Villa games ....


Can't, for the life in me, understand why laughing Run Run

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Post by User 774433 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 4:55 pm

Totally agree.
Tennis is miles better than football, in terms of entertainment value. No question.

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Post by Danny_1982 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 5:48 pm

banbrotam wrote:
Danny_1982 wrote:but I think a big Murray match in a big tournament beats most Villa games ....


Can't, for the life in me, understand why laughing Run Run

furious

Good luck next week. Hug

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Post by socal1976 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 6:48 pm

Danny_1982 wrote:Great article, and great responses too.

I agree with everything that has been said. No other sport has the variety of surface, the combination of mental, physical and technical pressure over such long periods of time (5 or 6 hours) or as good a scoring system.

I do enjoy football, but that passion has diminished somewhat as it is a sport now decided by the wallet of your owner... With tennis all that matters is how good you are, how fit you are, how much you want it, and can you do it on the day better that the person on the other side.

I love lots of sports, but for me NOTHING beats a great tennis match in a big tournament.


Well thats great Danny, Lydian did make a great point about how the scoring system maintains suspense in the match and a player can get to match point and then ultimately lose the match. Till the last point is done or dusted it is never over. Where in football like Lydian said if one team scores 3 or 4 goals by late in the second half the match is over. Yes and in football in recent years it looks more like an ego contest between billionaires buying thoroughbreds than a real competition among clubs.

And I agree very few things in sports can rival the tension of a tight five set grandslam match. The fans who are there become more and more emotionally involved with each up and down, and fans who watch those guys suffer, fight off fatigue, frustration and pull out clutch shots can't help but bond with the players win or lose.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 6:57 pm

lags72 wrote:Hmm .... "Is tennis the perfect sport or is it just me?"

No .... I reckon it's just you socal.

Only joking !! Cool

Very good article OK

It's sometimes hard to put into words quite what attracts us all to this great sport, and obviously different aspects of tennis can mean more (or less) to some folk than others ; but you've summed up very well (albeit with the acknowledged help from a certain Mr Agassi) its fundamental and enduring appeal.

I'm always impressed to see you come up with stuff like this socal, ie the sort of stuff that gives a wider perspective on things. I know you will still be banging on in future about the players you really really like whilst taking a good few swipes at those you don't ; and to a large extent that's perfectly understandable. But IMHO you can go off the rails at times with some of your more extreme thoughts/views socal, so all credit for a calm and thoughtful article ..!!



Well thanks lags, I am happy drunk who falls in love and hate easily, I had avowed the devil's potion while recovering from a nasty flu for over 10 days I could not savor scotland's finest export (and I don't mean murray's tennis). Last night in celebration of a full recovery I could finally take my medication and it evened out my mood like it usually does. Plus I do like to ham it up for the audience on occassion, its very rare, but it can happen.

But I would challenge you to examine even those views you deem extreme because I do not say things without a factual basis and without reason. Can I be wrong absolutely, but maybe I am more right than you would like to admit at times, just maybe? Thanks for the nice post.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 7:01 pm

banbrotam wrote:Good article, Socal clap

I keep getting hassle off my son as I never watch the latest 'big' footie match (i.e. Real v Man U) to such a degree he sarcastically praises me when I watch the occasional English match

Or berates me by asking why if I can watch any 'rubbish' Tennis match, why can't I show at least 10% commitment to TV footie!!

I then wiped the floor with him as I easily won the argument as to which is the toughest sport and which guarantees most entertainment Is tennis the perfect sport or is it just me? 3933776953

Tennis is now my No.1 sport - but I am still loyal to footie, but only via the mighty Bantams

Which us luck at Wembley next Sunday Fingers Crossed


Yes I am convinced Banbro that compared to even a sport as popular as football, which I do enjoy myself no sport gets my passions inflamed like tennis. The more I learn about the game the more and more I enjoy it. Work on him banbro and instill that passion for tennis on your son as much as you can. I am convinced that any sports fan who gets a little exposure and understanding of the game will come to love it.

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Post by Guest Sun 17 Feb 2013, 7:02 pm

A very impassioned piece Smile

I find with tennis whether it be the number 1 ranked player or the number 100 ranked player is that you watch any match and the slow burners are the ones that grab the attention. For about 15 games the match drags it heels and then out of nowhere a few inspired and amazing points changes the whole complexion of the match and then your on the edge of your seat just marvelling and letting out little yikes in amazement.

Tennis is like any sport. You get periods where the players and the standards are frighteningly high. Yes many spectators have held a less than positive view on the game at the moment, but that happens. It all comes good in the end though. Not all doom and gloom.

The thing with tennis when you think you've seen it all, something round corner just totally refutes that view and that's why we keep on watching it.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 17 Feb 2013, 7:10 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:A very impassioned piece Smile

I find with tennis whether it be the number 1 ranked player or the number 100 ranked player is that you watch any match and the slow burners are the ones that grab the attention. For about 15 games the match drags it heels and then out of nowhere a few inspired and amazing points changes the whole complexion of the match and then your on the edge of your seat just marvelling and letting out little yikes in amazement.

Tennis is like any sport. You get periods where the players and the standards are frighteningly high. Yes many spectators have held a less than positive view on the game at the moment, but that happens. It all comes good in the end though. Not all doom and gloom.

The thing with tennis when you think you've seen it all, something round corner just totally refutes that view and that's why we keep on watching it.

Great post LK, I agree the matches percolate and build in tension. And there is something unique about all the great points you are talking about, since it is two players pushing each other every great shot has its own build up and then when you do see something amazing it is truely unique. Often when players are simply forced to improvise or go for broke and their back is up against the wall then you see those amazing shots and tense moments that get the fans up off of their feet.

I think tennis looks simple to the uneducated viewer, but the more you learn about the game the more you see how layered it is and the sweeter it becomes. No question for me which sport I love the best. Great post LK.

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Post by bogbrush Mon 18 Feb 2013, 12:33 pm

The scoring system is the key to everything.

Think about tennis being played as first to 100 points and you'll see what I mean. It would be dire, or more reasonably described as much less interesting than now.
That's why I go mad when I hear about obscenties like no advantage games.
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Post by dummy_half Mon 18 Feb 2013, 12:47 pm

Tennis isn't the perfect sport, but then I don't think that there is such a thing anyway.

Positives for tennis:
1 - The combintion of physical and mental contest between two opponents (or two pairs of opponents)
2 - The scoring system, which means that some points are simply more important than others, so adding a natural 'high and low' rhythm to the match.
3 - That a player is never out of it until the final point is over. Look at how many matches have been recovered from match points down.
4 - That almost all players have the ability to do something that makes you go 'wow' (and sometimes 'no, you plonker'), and this could happen at any moment.
5 - How match-ups affect the style of play. Compare how Murray plays against Federer or Llodra and how he takes on Djokovic or Nadal.

Some issues that are less positive:
1 - One dimensionality with regard to tactics. This is particularly an issue with the women's game (has been for at least the last decade), but is becoming a bit of an issue with the men on slow hard courts
2 - Some matches just turn in to error fests, with it ultimately being the less bad player that hangs on for the win.
3 - Perhaps over-homogenisation of playng conditions.

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Post by socal1976 Mon 18 Feb 2013, 4:57 pm

Dummy half in tennis there are things such as forced errors, a player puts his opponent under pressure with an aggressive shot and the opponent can't get it back. The playing conditions in tennis vary more than in pretty much any sport I can think of, what other sport is played on 3 different surfaces, indoors and outdoors.

The tactics and one dimensional aspect of it is really a complaint about the pro game. When I talk about the greatness or perfectness of tennis I am talking about it in general at all levels and at the lower levels and amateur levels there is a huge diversity of playing styles. From chippers, moonballers, serve and volleyers, grinders, power baseliners etc. And we can get into that criticism on the thread if you like but it has been done to death on other threads. This is more about the game in general at all levels. But yes many fans have raised that complaint about the modern game.

Nothing in the universe is perfect unless you are religious but I think in terms of sport tennis gets as close as any I have heard of.

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