The Royal Sport named Tennis

Many consider tennis to be the most royal and elegant sport. Well for some people like me it is definitely true. Tennis players and fans would agree that tennis brings a high degree of joy into their lives. We have seen so many cases of devoted an die hard fans in tennis. For a game that has been on the professional stage for about 150 years, tennis has undergone a significant amount of change. With better technology, the game has truly evolved and made the game more enjoyable.

But I’m not here to discuss about tennis in general, I’m here to tell you about how I learnt to play tennis and how you can too! Yes, you, the person reading this article at this very moment. I started playing tennis at the age of 8 years old. Yup, a late bloomer. I started playing in Pune at the Poona Club Tennis Courts. My first coach was a person named Rahul. We trained with each other for about 3 years and my game fairly improved during my time in Pune as I started to play with better players. Towards the end of those 3 years, I had a decent foundation in tennis and I could play with most people. But, my game significantly lacked in certain areas. I had very poor technique, my strokes were rusty and my footwork was terrible.

After those 3 years in Pune, I attended a one month Tennis camp in Bangalore. It was really fun and I spent quite some time on court. I improved my mental toughness and this helped me a lot later on,l not only while playing at the National level but also in my day to day life. After the one month camp, I headed off to Kolkata.

Many consider Kolkata to be the home of Indian sports. After my 2 year stay in Kolkata, I can totally agree. My time in Kolkata drastically changed my game. From a raw rusty player I became a well developed player who could play with literally anybody and take out most. In Kolkata, I trained with India’s top coaches including the legendary Akhtar Ali. Akhtar Ali, former Davis Cup player and Captain, helped me to significantly improve various parts of my game.  I developed a deadly forehand with a serve that most couldn’t read. On my day, I could take out almost anybody with the dangerous forehand+serve combination. I also worked on my backhand a lot and I was quite comfortable with the shot (although it was still a weakness which became my strength later on).

I used to train for about 2-3 hours regularly at South Club and worked hard to improve my game. Kolkata was definitely the turning point for me and I learnt a lot from this city in general. I played at a lot of other clubs too such as Ordnance Club, which again helped me a lot with their quality of training and a good player group. I played a number of tournaments in Kolkata, most of them being at the National level. I even won a trophy (Kolkata has a very high level of competition when it comes to Tennis) and came agonizingly close on multiple occasions. I even qualifies for the Road to Wimbledon qualifiers, which was a pretty big achievement for me.

The level of tennis in Kolkata was of a really high standard which made it even more enjoyable to play with the best. The rigorous training and hard work eventually paid off as my game drastically improved. I also played a number of really fun parent-child doubles matches in Kolkata. After 2 years I eventually moved to Lucknow.

In Lucknow, I initially trained at the La Martiniere Tennis Academy for about a year. After which I trained with many good players and mostly played for recreation and the joy of the beautiful sport. Then came 2020 and along with it the pandemic.I had to halt tennis due to lockdown for a few months but after it resumed I started playing with my mom. My mom is also a former nationals player and still can take on a good player.

I trained with her for almost a year and to our surprise both of us improved a lot. I worked hard on my backhand and its now more lethal than ever. I have a single handed backhand which makes it tough against lefties but us very deadly. I have a deceptive slice, good strokes and I can hit winners from just about anywhere on the court.

I also improved my serve a lot during this one year, making it one of my most deadly shots. I started to serve much more faster and more accurately developed a strong kick serve which often bails me out of tough situations. My mom’s game also improved quite a bit after training for a year. Her fitness and backhand are now much better than before. Therefore this one year was highly beneficial for the both of us.

Alright alright enough about me, let’s talk about how you can improve your own game. Many consider tennis to be a really tough sport and that it takes years to master it. I actually agree with that but it definitely pays off once you’ve developed the skill. There’s no shortcut to learn a sport overnight and you will definitely have to work hard and put in a lot of hours on the court with balls all around you.

A lot of coaches stress upon technique which is alright to a certain extent but you shouldn’t give away your natural game. I made that mistake and suffered due to it. Yes, there’s no doubt about it that technique is very important but we have to remember that the player who plays better wins and not the player with the better technique. Many professional players have an unconventional technique such as Medvedev. Even Rafa’s game when he returns the serve with a looped ball is not a very common thing to do, but it pays off and it pays off really well! He’s not won 20 slams for nothing.

Working on your weaknesses is again a must. A lot of players procastinate and are hesitant to work on their weaknesses, but we’ve gotta face it once and for all. Watch youtube videos, see grand slam mathces, work with your coaches but don’t shy away from your weaknesses. A small negligible weakness against good players can also cost you the match. I’ve literally seen people with killer forehands but they just don’t have a backhand! They will just refuse to hit a backhand and will get angry at you if you ever hit a ball to their backhand.

Fitness is another thing that is very important especially in a sport such as tennis where matches can even go upto 5 hours. If you’re not fit then there’s no way that you’re going to come even close to competing with good players. Most professional players and coaches would agree that 70% of tennis is nothing but fitness and fitness plays a massive role in your game. Many players know this but don’t pay much heed to it since they assume that fitness is over rated and the strokes are the real thing. A good level of fitness also helps is preventing injuries and that’s a major reason why players such as Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have been able to sustain their longevity.

And lastly, have fun! This is the most important aspect and if you’re not enjoying the game, you wouldn’t like to put in that amount of hard work. Tennis has taught me a number of invaluable lessons which have helped me to a great extent in my academic life. So just enjoy the game, learn from your setbacks and live the royal elegant sport of tennis as you make your way into the tennis community.

The Royal Sport named Tennis7 min read

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