Focus on ball trajectory and how cleanly you hit the ball – this will then allow your brain to merge the technical instruction you’ve been working on with the natural way of movement that creates effortless power – and eventually sound tennis techniques will emerge that simultaneously produce a lot of effortless power and allow easy adjustments to different situations in the game.
The right tennis racquet for you is based largely upon your current skill level. Beginners tend to do well with large racquets because they have bigger sweet spots. Advanced players tend to want high-tech racquets made of composite materials for excellent power in a lighter weight. Your swing is another factor in the type of racquet you need. If you’re a powerful swinger, look for a smaller control racquet to help you have more control. If your swing is more about finesse, consider a larger power racquet to help you add a little oomph to your game.
As it happens, I was reading a ruefully captivating new memoir called “Swimming Studies,” by a onetime contender for the Canadian Olympic team, Leanne Shapton, which explores how growing up a competitive swimmer formed her habits of heart and mind. Years later, her daily rhythms and life choices, her nightly dreams, her understanding of duration, pleasure, pain and reward, remain informed by her hours in the training pool. Swimming strokes carved the contours of her inner life, and it’s not at all clear she is thankful for that. Of course, Andre Agassi, in his memoir, writes of how the aloneness of singles tennis — the very thing that imparted to Kirill a kind of Emersonian self-reliance, as he understands it — just enlarged his loneliness. You never know.
Any court surface may be used indoors. Hard courts are most common indoors, as they are made with the most versatile materials and surface finishes. Clay courts are installed indoors with underground watering systems, and used mostly for Davis Cup matches. The conclusion of the Wimbledon Championships, in 2012, was played on the lawn of Centre Court under the closed roof and artificial lights. The Halle Open has also seen a number of matches played on its grass court in the Gerry Weber Stadion with the roof closed. Carpet surfaces have been used both on the ATP World Tour and World Championship Tennis circuit, though no events currently use them. Historically, other surfaces have been used indoors such as hardwood at the defunct World Covered Court Championships and London Indoor Professional Championships. Currently, the ATP World Tour Finals event is the most important indoor tennis tournament.
In 1926, promoter C. C. Pyle established the first professional tennis tour with a group of American and French tennis players playing exhibition matches to paying audiences. The most notable of these early professionals were the American Vinnie Richards and the Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen. Once a player turned pro he or she was no longer permitted to compete in the major (amateur) tournaments.
I wanted to do something difficult. That was why I wanted to try tennis. I had been good at things. I was still good at things. I didn’t need a hobby, or a way to meet people. I wanted to get better at something; it had been a long time since I’d sensed that. I wanted to learn something that I would not be learning by reading; I had been reading all of my life, had spent the better part of four decades reading for a living. I wanted, one last time, to struggle at something I could control because the last real struggles were going to be ones I could not.
The line dividing the service line in two is called the center line or center service line. The boxes this center line creates are called the service boxes; depending on a player's position, he or she will have to hit the ball into one of these when serving. A ball is out only if none of it has hit the line or the area inside the lines upon its first bounce. All lines are required to be between 1 and 2 inches (25 and 51 mm) in width, with the exception of the baseline which can be up to 4 inches (100 mm) wide (although in practice it is often created the same width as the rest).
Weights of a racket also vary between 7 ounces (200 g) unstrung and 12.6 ounces (360 g) strung. Until the 1980s, rackets weighted at "medium" were produced. "Heavy" rackets were produced during the height of the wood era (e.g. the 1960s), very sparingly. The "medium" weight is heavier than any of the rackets produced since it was discontinued by companies. Many professionals added weight to their rackets to improve stability. Many continue to do so. Pete Sampras added lead tape to make his racket have a 14 ounces (400 g) weight and Venus Williams is known for using a frame modified to be quite heavy, in terms of the recent times average. By contrast, Andy Roddick surprised many when he said he used a stock Pro Drive series model, series of racket which was light when compared with the rackets used by most top professionals. In both recreational and professional tennis, the trend has been away from heavy rackets and toward lighter rackets, despite the drawbacks from light rackets, such as increased twisting. Lawn tennis rackets originally flared outward at the bottom of the handle to prevent slippage. The rounded bottom was called a bark bottom after its inventor Matthew Barker. But by 1947, this style became superfluous.[clarification needed] More mass gives rackets "plow through", momentum that continues once the player has managed to get the racket into motion and which is more resistant to stoppage from the ball's momentum. This can give the perception that the racket produces shots with more power, although this is complicated by the typically slower stroke production. Higher mass typically involves a slower swing but more energy to execute the swing. More mass also provides more cushioning against ball impact shock, a source of injuries such as tennis elbow. However, high racket mass can cause fatigue in the shoulder area. Typically, it is safer for the body to have higher mass. More mass, additionally, provides more stability. It makes the racket more resistant to twisting forces and pushback. The drawbacks are that heavier rackets have lower maneuverability (reducing reaction time) and require more energy to move. As a racket gets heavier, the player finds it increasingly difficult to do fast reaction shots such as quick volleys and returns of serve. However, the additional mass can help with return of serve, in particular, by making the racket much more resistant to twist from a high-powered service. Light rackets have the additional drawback of making it easier for beginning players to use inappropriate wrist-dominant strokes, which often leads to injury. This is because poor stroke mechanics can be much easier to produce with a lightweight racket, such as in using one's wrist to mostly swing the racket. An extremely typical mistake beginning players make is to choke up heavily on the racket (to try to compensate for twist from a light racket, as well as too high racket angle upon impact) and use the wrist too much. The only professional well-known player to have had success with a strongly choked-up grip is Zina Garrison.
Best for Beginners: All right, most beginners aren’t going to want to drop $200 on a racket, but if you want something that is very forgiving no matter what type of player you are or what type of player you want to become. The overall feel is very plush, though it bears a deceptively high stiffness rating. It’s friendly with spin and minimizes how many of your shots go rogue over the fence. It allows you to move from power hitting to finesse games with ease and gives you a chance to find what feels best without pressuring you in one direction or another. Especially kind to off-center hits the 99.5 square-inch head gives you plenty of real estate for while the 11.3 oz weight makes it good for quickdraws. [Purchase: $190]
The rules of modern tennis have changed little since the 1890s. Two exceptions are that from 1908 to 1961 the server had to keep one foot on the ground at all times, and the adoption of the tiebreak in the 1970s. A recent addition to professional tennis has been the adoption of electronic review technology coupled with a point-challenge system, which allows a player to contest the line call of a point, a system known as Hawk-Eye.