Let's Change it up a Little - When/How did you Become a Tennis Lover?


I'm not sure if this has been asked in such a basic form before.

Feel free to share your age, or around which year it waqs, or both.
Did you become a fan of the game more by playing or by watching?
If as a player, who did you learn the game from (doesn't imply formal lessons, unless that was your route).
If as a fan, who do you recall watching (it may not have been one person in particular) that made you a fan?
To me, it was a combination of playing a little, and also watching on TV.
I can't point to any particular match but I'm a huge sports lover and tennis always competed somewhat with baseball, football, basketball, and some ice hockey, along with a couple other sports. Just having turned (gasp) 63 (but a very young 63) I started watching by the late 60s but the game really seemed to take off for me in the early 70s. Among my favorite players in those early years were everyone from Arthur Ashe to Ilie Nastase (they were polar opposites, but) to Borg, and yes, Raul Ramirez. Among the women were Goolagong and Evert...but I always liked a great variety of players. Different styles, from different countries, different personalities.

I guess that I learned to play around age 10 or 11 (just public courts and cheap rackets with my brothers and then other friends). My high school was large and it wasn't always easy to make sports teams. In all candor, I still don't know how/why I got cut from the baseball team, but I ended up having a blast playing on the tennis team, and our team was pretty good, with a good group of friends.



Played all my life, was on court hours every day for years and years, following pro tennis was just natural
Did you learn from your parents or other family, or...and from what age?
(Just curiosity.)
Sounds like you played first and then started following as a fan.


Bionic Poster
I was introduced to tennis by watching Wimbledon with my mother when I was just a young kid. For many years I thought Queen's and Wimbledon were the be-all and end-all of tennis because other tournaments weren't shown on UK TV back then. Then I got Eurosport and Sky and discovered there was a whole world of tennis apart from Wimbledon. However, whilst enjoying the other events, the British grasscourt season continues to be my favourite for sentimental reasons. One can never quite shake one's first love. Since those early days tennis has been pretty much the only sport that interests me and that continues to be the case.


I grew up in that little 800sq ft house in the background to those public courts. Lived there from 4-18, now 68. When I lived there the courts were concrete, then while in high school they asphalted over the concrete. Now what was 3 courts is now two courts with the third made into multiple pickle ball courts. Imagine that nightmare noise to houses so close to the courts. I've lived and played tennis from Iowa, Tennessee, Colorado, North Carolina, Germany, Bosnia and other places. Somehow, 50 yrs after leaving that little house, I have now ended up not 30 miles from those early courts, ecstatic that there are 4 fabulous courts 1/2 mile from my house as well as this place just out of town: https://www.si.com/tennis/2021/10/04/hidden-gems-all-iowa-lawn-tennis-club
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I'm 36, I think the 1999 French Open final between Graf and Hingis was the first match I remember leaving a big impact on me. Maybe I saw some things before that, but don't have any strong memories of it. Been watching it ever since, just the slams for a while but since the mid 2000s been following the tour all year around

Also, I was playing from a young age. I tried a few different sports but tennis is the one I stuck to until I left school


Hall of Fame
My father was a huge Agassi fan in the early 90s. I remember when I was about 6 or 7 I made a tennis court out of a sheet of paper. I cut out two stick figures and would have them 'play'each other. Probably the first piece of art I ever made. Ha.

I found a wall behind our house with an open parking lot around 10-11 and would hit for hours upon hours on it. I was a shy quiet kid so tennis seemed like the perfect fit.

I finally found a couple hitting partners around middle school and all I wanted to do was hit and chase down balls.

So long story short my love of tennis came from my father. He never played but I guess it was a way for me to try and impress him. He came to exactly ONE tennis match of mine my whole career. Lol.


Bionic Poster
I was around 9 years old home bored during the summer while there was no school, and discovered Wimbledon on HBO. Pretty much fell in love with the game instantly. The coverage would be on all day from morning to afternoon in my time zone and I would just watch all day. Once I got a racket, I would hit against the barn in the backyard and imagine I was at Wimbledon. Lol.


Hall of Fame
Always loved it. When I was a kid it was a blast to grab our crappy racquets out of the closet and hit with my dad or a friend. Then as I got older I’d always try to get girls to come out and hit with me as sort of a date, activity hybrid. After that it was sort of just a way to occupy some free time and burn some calories.

But then spring of 2020 happened and I was basically told I can’t do any of the other things I love any more. I signed up on one of those tennis apps and found someone who turned out to be really cool and really into the sport. Up until this point I never really cared for the sport I just enjoyed the experience.

We ended up playing 50 times that summer just three short years ago and I’ve been absolutely obsessed ever since.

Like a healthy obsessed. Not the kind of obsessed where I literally stay up all night for two weeks straight while my family sleeps so I can watch the Australian Open. I would never do that. Or just say tonight if I had booked back to back tennis with doubles and then singles to keep me on the court from 6:30 to 10:30pm straight through. I would never do that… I’m not that obsessed…


From playing it. I was very sporty as a kid into my 20s and tennis was one of my favourite sports to play and eventually that turned into watching it on tv in the mid 90s and it's just evolved from then. Genuinely can't remember what the first match I ever watched on tv but what i am certain of is that it would have been a Wimbledon match. Most likely a Sampras match and living in England i remember all the Tim Henman hype.
It's been a long time so I don't remember many of the small details but my dad played and I guess I got into it because of him. I must have been 9 or 10. We used to watch the few tennis matches that were shown on TV in the mid to late 70s. And that's how it all began..... After that it's a long and winding road.

Clay lover

Are you surprised both the hate-driven cynics who get a kick out of denigrating players and provoking posters and the personality cultists who protect their heroes' egos as if they were their own are nowhere to be found in this thread?

For me it was a combination of both playing it and watching it. Played, then grew to appreciate how players executed their strokes so well. Really started to follow the sport in high school when my cable provider broadcast RG04 and got fascinated by the games of Kuerten, Coria and etc. Followed it more closely in 05 and remember rooting for Puerta only to witness him getting totally shut down by Nadal's defence. At that time I was like who's this young guy who just refuses to die?

Afterwards just continued to follow clay tennis and tennis in general, which fed into my playing and vice versa.

Robert F

Hall of Fame
Raised in the 80s, tennis still big in the US. Parents played. I started playing and taking lessons. Played on the high school team. But martial arts and working out were a bigger priority. My game got stuck and I was frustrated so I quit never to play again my Junior year in high school.

When my wife was stationed at Fort Bragg, there were courts across our condo. She encouraged me to play, I agreed to hit for spit and giggles and something sparked then. Eventually joined a local club when we moved home and as Federer took to the scene I was hooked on playing and watching tennis. Was never a big watcher of tennis until Fed.


New User
I am 43, and the only tennis we initially had on TV was Wimbeldon, so really my first matches were those great Edberg-Becker rivalries, 33 year old McEnroe and 39 year oldConnors trying to butt-in. I remember Stich beating Becker and Agassi beating (against what I thought were all odds) Ivanisevic, but mostly I was fascinated by Edberg who's serve and volley and elegance was second to none, to this day.
I love Nole today, but in terms of sheer beauty of the game, I don't think it was more beautiful than when Edberg, Becker and Sampras were on the court.

The Blond Blur

My dad watched and recorded the 1980 Wimby F when he was in college (he was a massive Borg fan and he couldn’t stand JMac). He showed it to me as a kid and got hooked from there. I started watching live tennis in 96 with Cincy being my first event.