The next two weeks, I won’t be talking about books much. Instead, I will write daily about another great love of mine: tennis. Today, Wimbledon started, my favourite of all grand slams. It’s in London, it’s on grass, it’s classy – it’s the epitome of tennis. While watching the matches, I will tell you about my own Wimbledon experiences, and why watching tennis could be quite similar to reading a great book. Today, I’ll focus on why I love the game so much.
Both my parents have played tennis for a long time. In fact, it’s where they first met. Therefore, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that we, my brothers and I, all played tennis too at one point in our lives. I started playing tennis at the tender age of four, and, actually, for a while I dreamed of being a world famous tennis player myself, even though I knew in my heart that there was not a chance in hell I would ever be good enough (really, I was not that talented). I loved playing tennis, but I became far too upset whenever I lost a point, and I preferred playing just for fun. It was a relief, therefore, when I found out that I could simply watch others play tennis, who were far better than I was, without having to be frustrated at my own game (I would, occasionally, be frustrated at their play – but more on that later). Oh, the hours I must have spent in front of the tv while others were enjoying their summer outside!
My mum knows each men’s Wimbledon winner from 1975 onwards. It’s a feat she isn’t too proud of, because it makes her feel like she’s obsessed, but I, a lover of useless trivia, love it. During the Wimbledon fortnight, my goal is to accumulate as much knowledge as possible (both fun and exceptionally useless) and share it with everyone, regardless of their interest (or lack of it) in tennis. Indeed, today I made sure that I had finished all of my work so I could be home in time to watch the grand Wimbledon Opening. Since it was not held last year due to the Covid pandemic, I was all the more eager not to miss even a second of it.
You may wonder why I love this game so much. To be honest, I don’t really know. I think it’s to do with the fact that it’s a solo game. It’s one player against the other, and they’re on the court by themselves. I love how the greatest, most experienced players can be surprised by up-and-coming youngsters, or how a seemingly easy match can evolve into nail-biting horror. Tennis, to me, is just as exciting as reading a good book. There’s the protagonist (the hero trying to achieve his goal), the nemesis (that one person who’s determined to thwart the hero, the underdog attempting to show the audience he deserves to be the hero, too), and there’s the excitement of simply not knowing who will come out victorious. It’s like turning the page of a book; you have no idea what will happen next, and if the match is any good, it’ll have you on the edge of your seat for hours on end. Add to that the fact that Wimbledon is the oldest and most prestigious of all the grand slams, and the tradition that all players have to be dressed in white; no novelist could come up with a better premise.
I must have watched a hundred matches on tv when I was younger. My mum loves recounting some of her favourite moments that she’s seen over the years (yes, she doesn’t only remember the winners, she also remembers most of the matches, as well as the playing styles and quirks of all of the players – now that’s what I call obsessive), but I hardly remember any of them, or wasn’t even alive at the time some of those matches were played. I remember some of them vaguely, but I mostly cherish that glorious feeling of watching amazing tennis, pretending it was me out there playing my very best game.
I don’t remember any of them clearly, that is, until I was eleven years old, tuned in to the BBC, and saw Roger Federer play for the first time. He’s my one and only true hero, the Greatest of All Time, the absolute hero of Wimbledon… It’s been almost twenty years since that moment, and he’s playing tomorrow.
Have you ever watched Wimbledon, in real life or on tv? Who’s your favourite tennis player? Do let me know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to follow me for more posts!