Positive Energy: Who turned you on to tennis?

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by ohplease, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. ohplease

    ohplease Professional

    Feb 18, 2004
    Obviously, SOMEBODY out there is responsible for getting us our first fix. For me? My Dad.

    I can still remember being dragged to the Tri-Village bubble/tent for lessons in fourth grade, with my trusty, 13 oz, steel/aluminum 85 square inch Wilson Cobra. With a racket like that, no wonder I disliked the game at first. I remember choking way up on the handle as a kid cause I couldn't get it around. I hit with it just recently while visiting my folks and it might STILL be more racket than I can handle.

    Eventually, Dad was nice enough to let me steal his lighter, flexy composite Wilson P200 oversize. Think PS6.0 only grey and without all that nasty kevlar. Still hits like a dream, but it's got a stress fracture inside the throat, so it's being transitioned to sentimental duty.

    Anyway, big ups to pop for turning me onto the sport. And you? Who do you have to thank?
  2. peter

    peter Professional

    Feb 20, 2004
    Linköping, Sweden
    Hmm... For me I think it was just a matter of separate coincidences.

    I grew up near some outdoor tennis courts (two clay, two asphalt) -
    but I only started to use those courts later (around when I was
    10 or so).

    My first tennis experience was with a pair of el-cheapo wood
    rackets ("STIGA" blue and green) that our family had gotten
    some time.

    At the same time we also got one of those "tennis trainers" - a
    ball attached to a long rubber string. When I got fed up
    (quite quickly) trying to use that "trainer" I found a large (for a kid
    atleast) brick wall on one of the houses at a nearby school that
    had only one small window. I actually only smashed that window
    one time during the many hours I spent there during my summers.

    The real "kick" for me though was when I found two friends/classmates
    that also was interested in starting to play tennis (one had never
    played before, but was a natural when it came to anything with
    a ball). That was the time when I really got hooked to tennis.

    We spent MANY hours on the local clay courts those summers.
    When the weather permitted we could play 3-5 hours at a time
    (doing round-robin games between the three of us). This was
    possible since we had summer jobs that allowed us to book
    the court for free since the company owned one of the courts :)

    Unfortunately, there was no indoor facilities in the town I
    grew up, and then we all moved away to different towns -
    and so it wasn't until some years ago that I really started
    playing again and I've rediscovered how FUN it is.

    Now I just have to catch up with the missing 15 years...
  3. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

    Feb 24, 2004
    I started playing tennis in 12th grade when I had a chance to take a class at the local jr. college. It seemed like the thing to do; it seemed like everyone I met was playing. Maybe it was all the hoopla about the Bobby Riggs / Billie Jean King match.
  4. Brian Purdie

    Brian Purdie Semi-Pro

    Feb 19, 2004
    I always watched Wimbledon on NBC every year when I was growing up. No one else had any interest in it, but I was curious b/c they made it out to be this royal affair. It was applealing, and my earliest memories were being 10 years old watching Becker and Edberg back in '88. From there I bought a very very cheap $5 tennis racket from the Kay-Bee toy store; A racket that mimiced the T-2000, but only in shape. It wasn't powerful enough to hit a tennis ball without seriously bending. From there, I went out to get a real racket, along with some lessons.
  5. topspin

    topspin Semi-Pro

    Feb 18, 2004
    I just enjoyed the sport watching it on tv and just went out and bought a racquet. Didn't know who I was going to play with or where but I had to have a racquet.
  6. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

    Jul 18, 2008
    Space/Time continuum alternative reality
    I loved watching the sport for years on television as a kid and finally convinced a friend of mine to hit with me with some really cheap racquets at Cummingham Park in Queens, NY. It was fun but it could have been more fun if my giant 6'5" friend didn't try to prove his power by hitting the ball with all his might (we were both or at least I was trying to learn the basic strokes) so if he connected solidly (that was rare) I couldn't get the ball back at my beginning stage or if he mishit the ball would often fly over the fences where we would have to go to get them back.

    I finally decided it was better to practice with people who wanted to learn.
  7. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

    Sep 2, 2008
    On my iPhone
    I played tennis out of boredom for a few years until I got to meet Andre Agassi and watch him play in a tournament, and then I got really into it.
  8. Ben Hadd

    Ben Hadd Semi-Pro

    Jul 16, 2009
    Planut Urf
    Raised by my grandparents. They got me a cheap frame in 1982 when I was 4. One side of our house had no windows on a huge wall, guess where I practiced? When I got to be a teenager I started playing others, and was eventually trained "technique" by a friend. Michael Chang was my favorite, and inspired me to get better at the game.
  9. Tarrantennis

    Tarrantennis New User

    May 23, 2011
    Ok - I wrote this 6 years ago for a mag:

    Everyone who plays tennis to any standard has someone who started them off. It can be a parent, a coach, or maybe a teacher at school. Tennis is such a great game, and this is such a great gift for one person to give to another. You do get the feeling that had the game of tennis been invented at the time of “Star Wars,” then Alec Guiness might well have been handing Luke Skywalker a tennis racquet and initiating him into the mechanics of a topspin forehand, rather than “The Force”.

    Maybe this would be a good goal for 2005. If you are a coach, to spend a little more time with that group of nine year olds who are just deciding whether tennis is for them. If you are a teacher, to give up a lunchtime or two to organise a school tennis club. If you are a tennis committee member, to do all you can to give juniors as much court-time as possible. And then you can become one of those extra special human beings - the people who help to pass on the gift of tennis to the next generation.

    But you don’t even have to be a committee member or a parent to be such a special person. My own “Obi-Wan Kenobi” was a lady called Miss Roud, our next-door neighbour who first offered me a trip to her tennis club when I was ten years old. Miss Roud was a retired schoolteacher who seemed very ancient and owned a sky blue Morris Minor. She was impervious to the cold and enjoyed driving with the hood rolled down. We used to pray for rain on the journey home so that she'd put the hood up. But not on the way out to the club. In those days no-one played tennis if it was raining. When it rained we had to sit in the clubhouse and listen to the grown-ups talking.

    The club was called Lyndhurst in Hampshire and we would get there using a circuitous route Miss Roud called the pretty way which managed to avoid most of the traffic and took close to an hour. Much of this time was spent narrowly avoiding ponies in the New Forest. On the return journey she would take our lives in her hands and risk the towns and roundabouts to get us home in thirty minutes.

    I can still remember those journeys.The car seemed to have three speeds - slow, slower and stationary. Miss Roud always left a space the size of a football pitch between us and the car in front. She called this her safety gap. Every time someone overtook she would brake sharply to get her safety gap back.

    Sometimes she would take us all - my mother, my two older brothers and myself - crammed horribly into the Morris Minor like wriggling sardines. I mostly ended up in the middle of the back seat, surrounded by my brothers who would poke me in the ribs at the least encouragement. But this was still preferable to sitting in the passenger seat next to Miss Roud, as even at twenty miles an hour, a journey spent in the passenger seat was a frightening experience. It had all the heart-stopping drama of a Death Ride at a modern amusement park - a leisurely-paced Death Ride it must be said, but still not one for the faint-hearted. Mostly we left our Mum perched up there (driving in the middle of Summer, the sun blazing down, “Are you cold, Mrs Tarran, your hands are shaking?”), and this seemed the sensible solution.

    Miss Roud also had some great ideas about children. "Children just love to do things for me. They enjoy it." So we'd have to carry her racquet and wind up the net, and climb through the back fence in pursuit of her misdirected lobs. And listen to what a thrill it all was.

    Once, my family having stayed at home, she challenged me to a game of singles. Miss Roud was a doyen of the old school where ladies only served underarm. What made this unfair was her refusal to let me reciprocate.
    I'd hit a double fault. "Can I serve underarm, Miss Roud?"
    "You may not."
    "I'd hit another one. "Please can I serve underarm?"
    "If you serve underarm you will never learn to serve properly."
    "But you serve underarm, Miss Roud."
    "I am a lady. In my day all ladies served underarm. You are not a lady."
    Another double fault. "Please Miss Roud."
    "You may not."
    She was a hard woman.

    I remember that she beat me 6-2 and I was furious, losing to an old lady who couldn't serve. Actually though her serves were pretty mean. They had a vicious sidespin which was impossible to master. It was only much later, in her seventies, that they began to lose their bite. She even started double-faulting. This was when I should have challenged her to a rematch.

    Mostly we were pretty horrible to Miss Roud. She was old and perhaps a little lonely, and I never showed her enough kindness. Both of us had moved away by the time she died - me to London, she to live in an old people's home. She left me nearly a thousand pounds in her will, the cheque by odd coincidence arriving by post on my twenty-first birthday. But the real gift had come much earlier - taking us the pretty way to Lyndhurst tennis club, to play tennis with the old ladies.
  10. gpt

    gpt Professional

    Mar 4, 2009
    Great read Tarrantennis. Thank you.
    Good question OP
    My Grandmother Myrtle turned me onto tennis. She always sung its praises and always had it on the tv when it was broadcast.
    It was at her house where i watched Newk beat Jimbo in the 75' Australian Open Final. And two years later I watched Rochey and JA win the Davis cup over Italy. Big memories for me.
  11. 2kJosh

    2kJosh New User

    Jul 4, 2011
    My dad started me when i was 4
  12. Viper

    Viper Professional

    Jun 8, 2005
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Mario, Ryoma Echizen, Roger Federer.
  13. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

    Dec 29, 2008
    For me, it is Federer. He is the one who made it look easy and beautiful. I just could not resist.
  14. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

    Oct 5, 2010
    Mcenroe vs Borg, Becker vs Edberg and Sampras vs Agassi .
  15. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Hall of Fame

    Feb 13, 2008
    Havre de Grace, MD
    Its a combination really.

    The guy I met in Community collge that that happened to have racquests on him and offered to hit after class. The tennis coach of said College who just happened to see us hitting and offered me a spot on the team and taught me the grip and swing of a kick serve.

    My lesbian girlfirnd in South Dakota who after we broke up I joined the tennis center there to pass the time.

    The head pro of that tennis center who let blast 600 serves a day and use the ball machine and hit with the high school kids in clinics.

    The other pro of that facility who helped with switch from 2hander to one hander.

    The memers of the TWMAC TFM and Sapient007 were the first ones I met after I got off work to hit.

    Sup2Dresq for videotaping me and helping my stroke out immensly.

    And Honey Badger for not giving a S$&^
  16. max

    max Hall of Fame

    Jul 14, 2004
    My mother took my brother and me to the local park district lessons she took back in the late 60s. We shagged balls. White balls, here and there. After a while, he used my Dad's Davis frame and I got a garage sale Victor wood. Heavy.

    Liked the feel of hitting the ball on the strings. That was it.
  17. Kobble

    Kobble Hall of Fame

    Feb 19, 2004
    I was watching some tennis at like 2-3 years old. One of my aunts watched, and McEnroe was the 1st player I ever knew of. I would go out and hit the ball around at about 8 years old a bit. Agassi was the player who motivated me to play consistently when I was 16. Then, it has been on and off from that point on.
  18. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

    Jun 19, 2005
    Long Island, NY
    If you've seen the girls who played on my high school tennis team, you would know my reasons.

    My love for tennis was the kind of pure lust possible only when the human male is in the grips of a decade long pon farr.

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