Does Anyone Else Find Matches Boring (but not tennis)?

I love tennis. The game, that is. I love the movement, the stroke production, the strategy and tactics.

What I don't love is walking around picking up tennis balls, hitting them over to my opponent, going to the line, hitting a serve, having them miss, and then repeating.

I feel like the current tennis format is archaic and contains way too little actual tennis compared to walking around and picking up balls. Whenever I play, say, a feed-in game to 21 from the baseline, it's WAY more fun and it's engaging the entire time. But in a set, it's so hard to stay focused, because everything just moves so slowly and you hit so few shots/minute.

I think the obvious fix, which I think televised tennis must adopt if it wants to survive, is to switch to 1 serve (instead of 2). That way, there wouldn't be nearly as many serve return errors, you wouldn't have to wait 5s after someone faults for their second serve, and you'd only have to get 1 ball to start the point instead of two. Watching Olympic Beach Volleyball renewed my faith that 1 serve is the way: the game is just so much more watchable without all the standing around faulting, and serve return errors aren't very common.

For now, though, has anyone else had a similar experience? How do you stay engaged during matches? I get so frustrated when I miss a return, not because I lost the point, but because I just wasted an opportunity to actually play tennis. Need advice.
 

cha cha

Professional
I always find it funny when people here state that tennis is not engaging or hard enough for their liking. It is not just you. Just the other day, our local village id*ot stated that a rec player will burn about 70 calories in 10 minutes of play in standard set of tennis.
I consider myself a decent athlete. I can do a mile under 5 minutes and 100m under 12 seconds. Yet I play tennis matches where I spend most of the time gasping for breath. Every break or interruption is most welcome. It is solely about the level you play.
 

ServeBot

Rookie
I always find it funny when people here state that tennis is not engaging or hard enough for their liking. It is not just you. Just the other day, our local village id*ot stated that a rec player will burn about 70 calories in 10 minutes of play in standard set of tennis.
I consider myself a decent athlete. I can do a mile under 5 minutes and 100m under 12 seconds. Yet I play tennis matches where I spend most of the time gasping for breath. Every break or interruption is most welcome. It is solely about the level you play.
Sub 5 and gasping for breath in tennis? You must be playing at a very high level!
 

Curtennis

Semi-Pro
Probably the wrong website to try to find people who equally hate tennis matches.
I enjoy the game and that’s why I watch and play. Baseball bores the heck out of me, that’s why I don’t watch. It’s a pretty easy fix to make sure my happiness is achieved.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
So, if you only get 1 serve ... how would that reduce return errors? Would all serves then revert to totally safe puff balls that then just increase the chance of a return winner? If so, you are right back to the same problem. Instead of Serve-Return Error and go pick up balls, it is now Serve-Return Winner and go pick up balls.

Hire ball kids: problem solved.
 

cha cha

Professional
i would say thats a bit better than 'decent'
Nothing to be impressed by.
They were both disciplines for my university admission exam. But I was not even close to the top. I believe even a couple of girls were faster on the mile (it is 1500m, in fact).

Does it exist in the states, specialised sports faculties at universities?
 
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So, if you only get 1 serve ... how would that reduce return errors? Would all serves then revert to totally safe puff balls that then just increase the chance of a return winner? If so, you are right back to the same problem. Instead of Serve-Return Error and go pick up balls, it is now Serve-Return Winner and go pick up balls.

Hire ball kids: problem solved.
Actually, no, not at all, and we have data that proves this. The top 50 second servers on the tour all win between 60% and 49% of their second serve points. Serving in this case definitely advantages the returner a little, but not nearly as much as the first serve advantages the server (top servers winning >90% first serve points).

Given this, if we dropped down to one serve, we'd expect players like Tsitsipas (58%) and Ruud (57%), to be the new best servers on the tour, with players like Isner (56%), still well inside the top 10, but no longer so, so dominant because the "Tennis" part of tennis now matters so much more.

https://www.atptour.com/en/stats/2nd-serve-points-won/2021/all/all/
 
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Probably the wrong website to try to find people who equally hate tennis matches.
I enjoy the game and that’s why I watch and play. Baseball bores the heck out of me, that’s why I don’t watch. It’s a pretty easy fix to make sure my happiness is achieved.
It's a website of tennis players. I love tennis, just dislike the match format.
 
I always find it funny when people here state that tennis is not engaging or hard enough for their liking. It is not just you. Just the other day, our local village id*ot stated that a rec player will burn about 70 calories in 10 minutes of play in standard set of tennis.
I consider myself a decent athlete. I can do a mile under 5 minutes and 100m under 12 seconds. Yet I play tennis matches where I spend most of the time gasping for breath. Every break or interruption is most welcome. It is solely about the level you play.
I definitely agree that tennis is much more fun the better you are, but I'm still not sure that qualifies "get good" as a valid response. For one thing, the better you get, the better serve's you're forced to return as well. We know that even at the highest level, the best servers win 90% of their first serve points.

Second, I've played those matches, and you're right, those are very fun. When I find myself at 4-3 or something and walking to the other side skipping the chance over because I'm barely breathing, that's when it gets super boring. However, I'd still like a way to stay engaged in those matches if that's possible, and I think the problem could be fixed with 1 serve.
 

cha cha

Professional
I definitely agree that tennis is much more fun the better you are, but I'm still not sure that qualifies "get good" as a valid response. For one thing, the better you get, the better serve's you're forced to return as well. We know that even at the highest level, the best servers win 90% of their first serve points.

Second, I've played those matches, and you're right, those are very fun. When I find myself at 4-3 or something and walking to the other side skipping the chance over because I'm barely breathing, that's when it gets super boring. However, I'd still like a way to stay engaged in those matches if that's possible, and I think the problem could be fixed with 1 serve.
understood.
We play on clay here, so the serve only becomes a real weapon above 5.0.

I take it you cannot be too old. Give it some time, and you will be happy just to be on court, let alone winning easily.
 
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understood.
We play on clay here, so the serve only becomes a real weapon above 5.0.

I take it you cannot be too old. Give it some time, and you will be happy just to be on court, let alone winning easily.
Hmm, I could try that. Does the faulting annoy you, or not really?
 
Nothing really annoys me on court. Well, perhaps people who get irritated doing sports. That is insulting to me. You do not take time off your busy schedule and physically damage yourself to act irritated for two hours.
Oh really? So like when people yell at themselves for not moving and stuff?

The busy schedule thing is precisely why I dislike the first serve. I'm taking 2 hours out to play a match and I have to spend a lot of it watching my opponent fault, or miss returns, or walk for balls, etc, and when I miss a return it's extrodinarily frustrating because now I have to wait 30 seconds to try again.
 

Devil_dog

Hall of Fame
I kind of get it. There are times I struggle to stay interested in a match after a set. Especially playing singles matches. But I play lots more doubles and it's way more engaging, imho. Working with a teammate and feeling the pressure to hold up your end definitely takes away the monotony that creeps in when I play singles.

And if you don't like to play doubles, consider playing Fast 4 tennis format. Shorter games and sets. Matches are over before you know it.
 
Now I’ve heard it all. In doubles, either social or competitive, I’m never bored. When I’m playing singles, if anything, I’m trying to grab an extra couple of seconds for a breather. I’ve never thought “man, I wish we were playing at a quicker pace…maybe I should suggest one serve for the rest of the match?” Lol.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Actually, no, not at all, and we have data that proves this. The top 50 second servers on the tour all win between 60% and 49% of their second serve points. Serving in this case definitely advantages the returner a little, but not nearly as much as the first serve advantages the server (top servers winning >90% first serve points).

Given this, if we dropped down to one serve, we'd expect players like Tsitsipas (58%) and Ruud (57%), to be the new best servers on the tour, with players like Isner (56%), still well inside the top 10, but no longer so, so dominant because the "Tennis" part of tennis now matters so much more.

https://www.atptour.com/en/stats/2nd-serve-points-won/2021/all/all/
Oh, so your serves are on par with players in the top 25 of the ATP?

At the rec level, above 3.0 but below high 4.5 the difference between most 1st and 2nd serves is pretty drastic. The returns against the average 2nd serve can be fairly brutal.

I will go back to: Hire ball kids. Heck, I have always wanted to have a match with ball kids!
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
If you are spending that much time picking up balls, you need to get better. Sounds like low level beginner tennis.
Or if you are spending THAT much time picking up balls, switch to pickleball. You would be pro level in no time, since it seems that all they do is bend over to pick up a pickle thing.
 
I kind of get it. There are times I struggle to stay interested in a match after a set. Especially playing singles matches. But I play lots more doubles and it's way more engaging, imho. Working with a teammate and feeling the pressure to hold up your end definitely takes away the monotony that creeps in when I play singles.

And if you don't like to play doubles, consider playing Fast 4 tennis format. Shorter games and sets. Matches are over before you know it.
I've noticed this too. Moreso with the 4.5 level doubles where people can actually volley it back after you hit a volley at them. Very engaging and the social aspect really helps with the excitement. Maybe I will try some fast 4 with my practice partners. It's no-ad, tiebreak at 3-3, right?
 
Oh, so your serves are on par with players in the top 25 of the ATP?

At the rec level, above 3.0 but below high 4.5 the difference between most 1st and 2nd serves is pretty drastic. The returns against the average 2nd serve can be fairly brutal.

I will go back to: Hire ball kids. Heck, I have always wanted to have a match with ball kids!
At the 3.0 level the returns aren't good enough to crush the bop serves. Further, players would spend more time on their second serve if it were more essential, so I don't think any 4.5 player would still be rolling it in once their opponent's were good enough to crush that.
 

2nd-srv-ace

New User
I love tennis. The game, that is. I love the movement, the stroke production, the strategy and tactics.

What I don't love is walking around picking up tennis balls, hitting them over to my opponent, going to the line, hitting a serve, having them miss, and then repeating.

I feel like the current tennis format is archaic and contains way too little actual tennis compared to walking around and picking up balls. Whenever I play, say, a feed-in game to 21 from the baseline, it's WAY more fun and it's engaging the entire time. But in a set, it's so hard to stay focused, because everything just moves so slowly and you hit so few shots/minute.

I think the obvious fix, which I think televised tennis must adopt if it wants to survive, is to switch to 1 serve (instead of 2). That way, there wouldn't be nearly as many serve return errors, you wouldn't have to wait 5s after someone faults for their second serve, and you'd only have to get 1 ball to start the point instead of two. Watching Olympic Beach Volleyball renewed my faith that 1 serve is the way: the game is just so much more watchable without all the standing around faulting, and serve return errors aren't very common.

For now, though, has anyone else had a similar experience? How do you stay engaged during matches? I get so frustrated when I miss a return, not because I lost the point, but because I just wasted an opportunity to actually play tennis. Need advice.
I agree to a certain point, i love hitting but not playing matches...i guess i lack the mental aspect required to win points and matches.
 

BallBag

Professional
There's definitely a lot of downtime in a match. I edited some of my match videos and you get like 20 min of play from 2 hours of raw footage. I never felt bored between points though.
 

iNeverSlice

Rookie
I always find it funny when people here state that tennis is not engaging or hard enough for their liking. It is not just you. Just the other day, our local village id*ot stated that a rec player will burn about 70 calories in 10 minutes of play in standard set of tennis.
I consider myself a decent athlete. I can do a mile under 5 minutes and 100m under 12 seconds. Yet I play tennis matches where I spend most of the time gasping for breath. Every break or interruption is most welcome. It is solely about the level you play.
Either you're lying about the shape you're in, or you're lying about gasping for breath most of the time during a match. My guess is you're lying about the gasping for breath. Sure, after a good long point, but there's no way you spend most of the match like that.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Either you're lying about the shape you're in, or you're lying about gasping for breath most of the time during a match. My guess is you're lying about the gasping for breath. Sure, after a good long point, but there's no way you spend most of the match like that.
For those of us who tend to hold our breath during a point, especially the first few games ... so stupid but leads to a lot of gasping!
 

cha cha

Professional
Either you're lying about the shape you're in, or you're lying about gasping for breath most of the time during a match. My guess is you're lying about the gasping for breath. Sure, after a good long point, but there's no way you spend most of the match like that.
Well, 'most of the time' is a bit of an overstatement. But it feels like it when you play someone who is chasing you side to side like a leaf in the wind.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I've been an advocate of the single serve in tennis for a long time. Maintains more continuous play and likely slots people in better at their level. As they say, "You are only as good as your second serve."

But the real solution to the OP's complaint is to open two cans of balls and play with 6 balls for the match. Way less walking for balls.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Or if you are spending THAT much time picking up balls, switch to pickleball. You would be pro level in no time, since it seems that all they do is bend over to pick up a pickle thing.
The bending over is very irritating. You can't pick up the ball with the racket and shoes like tennis. For people like me with eyesight issue, bending down and up causes dizziness.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
There's definitely a lot of downtime in a match. I edited some of my match videos and you get like 20 min of play from 2 hours of raw footage. I never felt bored between points though.
There was an article in Inside Tennis and I think it was Gigi Fernandez who noted that only about 17% of match time is actually spent playing.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
The bending over is very irritating. You can't pick up the ball with the racket and shoes like tennis. For people like me with eyesight issue, bending down and up causes dizziness.
Wear a portable vacuum cleaner on your back with a wand long enough to reach the ground.

Invent a telescopic PBall racquet.

So many possibilities.
 

Moon Shooter

Semi-Pro
Nothing to be impressed by.
They were both disciplines for my university admission exam. But I was not even close to the top. I believe even a couple of girls were faster on the mile (it is 1500m, in fact).

Does it exist in the states, specialised sports faculties at universities?
We don't get tested physically for most universities.

I find it interesting that you have both a decent mile time and a decent 100 meter dash time. I thought genetically people either had sprinter or long distance muscles.


I don't know anything about the link but I have read similar sorts of claims other places as well.

I could never run a decent mile time but I was a pretty good sprinter.

In any match I can choose to go for a ball that I am 90% sure I won't get or I can go for it. For me managing energy is very much part of the game and I can't imagine being in such good shape that I go for every ball even if I am 99.9% sure I won't get it.
 

cha cha

Professional
We don't get tested physically for most universities.

I find it interesting that you have both a decent mile time and a decent 100 meter dash time. I thought genetically people either had sprinter or long distance muscles.


I don't know anything about the link but I have read similar sorts of claims other places as well.

I could never run a decent mile time but I was a pretty good sprinter.

In any match I can choose to go for a ball that I am 90% sure I won't get or I can go for it. For me managing energy is very much part of the game and I can't imagine being in such good shape that I go for every ball even if I am 99.9% sure I won't get it.
Yes, but you are talking about world class, which I am very far from.
I thought sport faculties only existed in Eastern Europe.
I leisurely enrolled into a university to study general coaching at the age of 28. : - )
The admission is something we call the general talent exam. Basics of all sports. I believe I was somewhere in the middle of the accepted mostly due to my catastrophic swimming.
 
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davced1

Hall of Fame
The problem for rec players is that it’s hard to get a court for warm-up prior to matches. I need at least 15 minutes sometimes up to an hour of hitting to dial in, feel confident in my strokes and feel the ball. It’s just not doable before matches most times so I have to make the most of the five minute warm-up and do the best with what I have in the match. It’s frustrating knowing you don’t play your best tennis due to the circumstances but hopefully my game picks up as the match progresses.
 

EddieBrock

Professional
I feel the same way. For me it's a lot more fun to play games from the baseline or start the point with a feed at a clinic than dealing with serves and returns and all the downtime between points. I put off playing sets and matches for years since I didn't enjoy it. I still don't like it as much as rallying, but it's a good way to gauge how well your game is coming together.

So maybe look at it like a test of your game or like a chance to put your mental and concentration skills to work.
 
Not directed at anyone specifically, but my club is full of people who are great at rallying and/or drilling but can’t win an actual match to save their lives. Matches are the ultimate test. Yeah, you have a great forehand or a big serve, but can you use it effectively in a match? As Mike Tyson said, “everyone’s got a plan until they’re punched in the mouth.”
 

Devil_dog

Hall of Fame
I used to hit with a guy that loathed playing sets or even serving (even though he had a decent serve). He would rather feed the ball in and start a rally that way. Never kept score or anything. That was great for cardio or working out but I struggled to do that all the time.
 

Steady Eddy

Legend
Oh really? So like when people yell at themselves for not moving and stuff?

The busy schedule thing is precisely why I dislike the first serve. I'm taking 2 hours out to play a match and I have to spend a lot of it watching my opponent fault, or miss returns, or walk for balls, etc, and when I miss a return it's extrodinarily frustrating because now I have to wait 30 seconds to try again.
You know, I read a book by one of tennis's pioneers, and he agreed with you that it should only allow one serve. In the earliest days of the sport, someone would fault and they'd just say, "Oh, that's okay honey, just try again." It was never intended for players to turn the serve into a weapon.

When I play tennis I'm hoping to have some fun, not just get a win. I've tried to convince my fellow players to try "one serve" tennis, but they won't go for it.
 

puppybutts

Semi-Pro
I love tennis. The game, that is. I love the movement, the stroke production, the strategy and tactics.

What I don't love is walking around picking up tennis balls, hitting them over to my opponent, going to the line, hitting a serve, having them miss, and then repeating.

I feel like the current tennis format is archaic and contains way too little actual tennis compared to walking around and picking up balls. Whenever I play, say, a feed-in game to 21 from the baseline, it's WAY more fun and it's engaging the entire time. But in a set, it's so hard to stay focused, because everything just moves so slowly and you hit so few shots/minute.

I think the obvious fix, which I think televised tennis must adopt if it wants to survive, is to switch to 1 serve (instead of 2). That way, there wouldn't be nearly as many serve return errors, you wouldn't have to wait 5s after someone faults for their second serve, and you'd only have to get 1 ball to start the point instead of two. Watching Olympic Beach Volleyball renewed my faith that 1 serve is the way: the game is just so much more watchable without all the standing around faulting, and serve return errors aren't very common.

For now, though, has anyone else had a similar experience? How do you stay engaged during matches? I get so frustrated when I miss a return, not because I lost the point, but because I just wasted an opportunity to actually play tennis. Need advice.
if you are spending more time picking up balls than you are playing, you simply aren't at a good enough level yet to enjoy tennis. not trying to be mean, we were all that beginner at some point hitting out or into the net 80% of points. but naturally, as with anything in life, it becomes more fun when you become good. at high levels, yes the serve is better, but the returner is better too - it's always an ebb and flow challenge of who can adapt.

it's funny you mention volleyball as an example. volleyball is absolutely the worst sport to play with beginners. in tennis, all they have to do is get the ball over the net to have a rally, which doesn't require particularly great stroke mechanics. but in volleyball, if someone cannot bump, or set, or spike, all of which require some basic team experience and decent body control, you are in for a very boring time of basically watching people underhand serve and someone punch the ball into the ground. also, volleyball servers get much more flexibility in serving, since they aren't limited to a service box and can serve to the entire court. the average speed of a volleyball serve is also 50-70 mph. i highly doubt tennis would be made more entertaining if only one serve was allowed and suddenly all serves on tour took a 10-20mph downgrade. watching a player pull off a clutch first serve, or risking a fast second serve, on crucial break points or match points, is one of the most exciting parts of watching live tennis - watching the player's face trying to decide the best strategy to stay alive.

i do agree watching full matches is boring; i only enjoy them if it's a tight match between players i love. i hate baseball because it is so much standing around, it is incredibly dull. sometimes i don't like soccer or american football either, too much stop and go action. every sport has their down time. perhaps they could reduce the time between serves, but pros need that time not just to mentally prepare, but to catch their breath. not many sports require both lots of running and high impact arm movements. it's not physically feasible to cut out all down time because the players would be exhausted. frankly it's not realistic to have 20 shot rallies every point either for the same reason.

if you get annoyed picking up balls, you could simply play matches with more than 3 balls and just make sure to knock them somewhere safe. you say you get frustrated when you miss a return...naturally, the challenge is to not miss the return. turn your frustration into strategy and adaption. that's how you stay engaged....always thinking, what can I do better? can I read where my opponent is serving this time? should I go for more or go for less? if that doesn't interest you, maybe match-play tennis just isn't for you. a feed-in game is really boring to me....it basically just feels like a warm-up except you can go for winners instead of hitting back to your partner. but if rallying is what you like to do....as long as your partner is into it too, to each their own i suppose.
 
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