I expect that this, my initial piece will be found useful by both novices and experts alike in the tennis world. I am trying to arouse interest in the student of the game of tennis by a somewhat lengthy discussion of match play, which I trust will cast a new light on the game of tennis.
I will address the beginner in my opening article and speak of certain matters which are second nature to the skilled player. The best tennis equipment is not much good for the novice even if he really is trying to succeed. However, one has to buy good quality; it is a saving in the end, as good quality goods far outlasts poor quality equipment.
It is important to always dress in tennis attire when playing tennis. The question of choosing a tennis racquet is a much more serious matter. I do not advise forcing a certain make of racquet upon any player, since all the standard brands are excellent. However, it is on the weight, balance, and size of handle that the real value of a racquet frame depends, while good stringing is essential to get the best results.
After having bought your racquet, make a firm decision to use only quality tennis balls, as a consistent bounce is a great aid to advancement, while a “dead” ball is of no use at all. If you really want to succeed at tennis and progress rapidly, I strongly urge you to watch all the good tennis you can. Study the play of the leading players and strive to copy their strokes. Read all the tennis instruction books you can get your hands on. They are a great help.
Much more tennis can be picked up off the tennis court in the study of theory and in watching the top players in action, than can ever be learned in one’s own actual play. I do not advise that you should miss opportunities to play tennis, far from it. Play tennis whenever you can, but try when playing to put into practice the theories you have read about or the strokes you have watched.
Never let yourself become discouraged by lack of progress. The method of playing some stroke you have worked at over weeks unsuccessfully, will suddenly come to you when least expected. Good tennis players are the product of very hard work. Very few players are born geniuses at the game. Tennis is a game that pays you dividends all your life. A tennis racquet is a letter of introduction in any city.
The brotherhood of the game is universal, for none but a fit sportsman can succeed in the game for any long period of time. Tennis provides relaxation, excitement, exercise, and pure enjoyment to the person who is bound hard to his job until late afternoon.
The following order of development produces the quickest and most lasting results: 1. Concentration on the game. 2. Keep the eye on the ball. 3. Foot-work and weight-control. 4. Strokes. 5. Court position. 6. Court generalship or match play. 7. Tennis psychology.
Concentration. Tennis is played first with the mind. The best racquet technique in the world will not suffice if the playing mind is wandering. There are many reasons for a distracted mind in a tennis match. The main one is loss of interest in the game. No one should play tennis with any hope of real success unless he cares enough about the game to be willing to do the spadework necessary to learn the game correctly.
Give it up at once unless you are willing to work hard. Conditions of play or the noises in the gallery often confuse and bewilder experienced match-players playing in new surroundings. Complete concentration on the matter in hand is the only remedy for an erring mind, and the quicker the lesson is learned the more rapid the improvement of the player.
The surest way to keep a match in mind is to play for every set, every game in the set, every point in the game and, finally, every shot in the point. A set is merely a collection of made and missed shots, and the man who misses the least is the ultimate winner.