Tennis Hardest Sport?

Tennis to me has to be one of the hardest sports not physically or mentally...just to make it big in the sport. In tennis theres not any diffirent positions or diffirent weight classes. My little brother 11 yo is a really good tennis player, me im a wrestler but there are 14 diffirent weight classes and in tennis theres nothing dividing pros? Does anyone else think tennis is one of the hardest sports to make it big in? I know im going to college for wrestling..but is it harder for tennis? and my brothers tennis coach said something about proposition 9 for college...I kno its early to think about my brothers education but I dont know if all this money will be worth it unless he gets a full ride? What do you think...

I dont know if this is the right column but...im confused
 

lethalfang

Professional
Tennis is definitely a very difficult sport to "make it big" just by statistics, because it's an individual sports.
A college with a football team has 85 players on the team.
In terms of basketball, there are professional leagues in every continent, and each team has 15 players on their payroll.
The number of tennis players who are making big money have problem filling up one football roster.
 

smoothtennis

Hall of Fame
You guys ever watched pro level billiards? I say *far* more demanding mentally at the high levels, although many similarities to tennis really, including getting tight and having technique problems.

Boxing is exceptionally difficult, not only as a sport, but also to get to the top ranks and make money. Very crooked, and far harder than tennis to make it to the top. See, boxing involves heavy technique, very heavy mental, and also, your opponenent gets to hit you in the face while you are trying to do your thing. LOL!
 

jasoncho92

Professional
Tennis isnt divided into weight classes because it isnt that big of an advantage like it is in wrestling so those two shouldnt be compared with each other
 

35ft6

Legend
Figure skating, gymnastics, wushu, tennis. Sports you have no chance of being world class in unless you start practicing very young and continue practicing several hours a day for years.
 

NLBwell

Legend
Yes, tennis is one of the hardest just by the numbers. If you are #150 in tennis, you are barely making a living if you are lucky. If you are #150 in baseball or (American) football you are making millions of $. If you are the 750th best baseball player you are in the major leagues in baseball, you are lucky to even get to qualify for a challenger tournament in tennis. Tennis is played all over the world, the pool of players the pros are drawn from is much bigger than any sport in the world other than soccer (football) and there are many leagues and many teams per league to play soccer in all over the world where you can make a good living.
 

z-money

Semi-Pro
for sure! darts with practice easy, poker when you actually think about that the heck your doing not so tough. but tennis and golf two sports which are all about mental, and technique much tougher. nfl had kurt warner be an mvp after winning the super bowl a year earlier he was just some guy working a blockbuster! two years ago the runner up to the world series of poker was a simple rich guy from new england, doesnt even consider himself the best amungst his friends yet he beats out players with 10000x more talent and smarts. so that is my point to discredit those
 

dancraig

Hall of Fame
Someone said that a good topspin serve is one of the toughest things to acquire in the whole world of sports.
 
Actually there was recent research done on 'athleticism' of all sports by espn. A committee of various scientists (sport psychology, biophysics, and other weird anatomy sciences) constructed 11 catagories of athleticism (power, strength, endurance, eye-hand coordination, agility, flexibility, overcoming fears, analytical aptitude, etc.)

Tennis actually scored 7th of 60, which I was quite impressed by. I can't remember the website or many of the scores, but if anyone here is a frequent at bodybuilder.com it was under the sports training thread in the arguement for 'hardest sport' thread.

1. Boxing
2. Ice Hockey
3. Basketball
4. Football
5. ?
6. ?
7. Tennis
60. Fishing

I was quite surprised, I always considered swimming, wrestling, and boxing to be the three 'hardest' sports, which they may well be. Of course, the research was done purely on 'athleticism' which vaguely combines physical demands, natural athleticism, as well as mental strategies, and many other attributes.

Of course, I've recalled hearing McEnroe proclaim professional men's tennis to be 'the hardest physical strain a person can put their body through.' Which to be is an over-statement if I've ever heard one. I love tennis with a passion, it's almost 'my life,' but I don't think it's physical demanding, mentally challenging, or 'hard' at all, I respect other sports more than I do tennis concedingly.
 
Attn: Those who use money to argue

America is a capatlist nation. We see sports as an entertainment market, and each individual sport is given patronage support determined by their entertainment capabilities. Within the sport (micro) cash can be seen as a divider between 'success' and 'failure' with those short in supply of being successful at the sport in either winning, or simply: entertaining, receive greater paychecks. However, this of course is a macro discussion, comparing each sport, where the difficulty of the sport has no reflection on the economical size of the sport. I hope this makes sense.

Attn: Those who chose poker

In the previously mentioned (and unfortunately, uncited) reference, poker scored extremely low on 'athleticism.' While this is no surprised, it also did not outscore tennis in the isolated catagory of 'analytical aptitude.' Which is the 'mental' aspect of sports, meaning "ability to read (or execute) a situtation strategically to gain distinct advantages in context to the sport."
 

35ft6

Legend
1. Boxing
You won't have a 50 yo come out of retirement to win the French Open a la George Foreman.
2. Ice Hockey
Which position?
3. Basketball
Rodman started playing when he was about 19. And again, which position?
4. Football
Sheer athleticism will get you far in football. You can run a 4.2 40 but never played football? You can still be an impact player on special teams. And again, which position.

I've seen this list before. Don't really agree with it.
 
This can't be right...Again, which position? The fish or the human?
Fishing is obviously the hardest sport for the fishes... when you're not a pro fish and don't win your matches, you die and become a part of somebody else's trophy.
Citing statstistics, it is nearly impossible for a fish to make it big...
 
I'd have to rate hockey as a sport that requires more athleticism than tennis. Ever try to serve up an ace while running behind the baseline and getting racquet checked by another opponent? Hockey is a demanding sport that requires a lot of endurance, agility, and coordination.
 

lethalfang

Professional
You won't have a 50 yo come out of retirement to win the French Open a la George Foreman. Which position?
Rodman started playing when he was about 19. And again, which position? Sheer athleticism will get you far in football. You can run a 4.2 40 but never played football? You can still be an impact player on special teams. And again, which position.

I've seen this list before. Don't really agree with it.
I would say the elite NBA players, especially the shooting guards and small forwards, are the most phenomenal athletes in the world.
These guys are between 6'5 to 6'8, and they have amazing leaping ability, lateral quickness, speed, and hand-eye-coordination, and endurance.
There aren't that many 6'6 guys in the world, but most of those giants are actually very clumsy.
 

Photoshop

Professional
Sport skills difficulty rankings from ESPN
1.Boxing
2.Ice hockey
3.Football
4.Basketball
5.Wrestling
6.Martial Arts
7.Tennis
8.Gymnastics
9.Baseball/softball
10.Soccer

How did tennis only get 3 for nerve? Sure there's no physical contact in tennis but it's the only sport in top 10 where unforced errors (mistakes) directly result in loss in points.
 

FEDEX1

Rookie
i'd say golf is a real hard sport "to make it big" because it golf everyone plays against each other in a tournament. it's not like tennis and you only play one person at a time. you have to compete against eveyone in one tournament.
 
tennis is the only sport to use all 5 parts of your brain. that alone sets it apart. i also think its one of the most under estimated sports of all time.
 

35ft6

Legend
I would say the elite NBA players, especially the shooting guards and small forwards, are the most phenomenal athletes in the world.
Totally some of the most phenomenal athletes in the world, way better athletes than ATP athletes, but that has nothing to do with tennis versus basketball in terms of how difficult they are.

In basketball, you get a kid who's been playing all his life, but is only 5'6" and he can be less of an impact player on the court than a coordinated guy who's 7'2" who never played in his life. This just doesn't happen in tennis.
 
Could you enlighten us a little bit more about the 5 parts of the brain?
why yes.

well no.

my coach has an article about it. They put some electron monitering device on tennis players and saw that they were using all 5 parts of their brain. you know, the 5 parts. playing the piano is another activity that uses all 5 parts. i'll try to get that article. but still, thats just amazing!
 

goober

Legend
Totally some of the most phenomenal athletes in the world, way better athletes than ATP athletes, but that has nothing to do with tennis versus basketball in terms of how difficult they are.

In basketball, you get a kid who's been playing all his life, but is only 5'6" and he can be less of an impact player on the court than a coordinated guy who's 7'2" who never played in his life. This just doesn't happen in tennis.
I agree. NBA is a terrible example. If you are over 7 foot and have good athletic ability you will make a NBA roster and make millions.

NBA Point Guard otoh you pretty much have to be playing since you were a kid.
 

lethalfang

Professional
why yes.

well no.

my coach has an article about it. They put some electron monitering device on tennis players and saw that they were using all 5 parts of their brain. you know, the 5 parts. playing the piano is another activity that uses all 5 parts. i'll try to get that article. but still, thats just amazing!
Show me the article. I want to see if the article is scientifically legitimate.
 

mellofelow

Semi-Pro
Ice Hockey. Which position?
I agree with this list. You have to somewhat nuts to play any of the 6 sports above tennis.

I guess you have not played organized ice hockey. Besides the Goalie, forwards and D-man all need to possess mad skilz. In fact, it's the fastest sport on foot where players reach excess 20 mph. If you think football hits are nasty, try a head-on collision on ice.

Although ice surface is slippery, it's hard as concrete. Combine with razor sharp skates that can dig into ice like a chainsaw to a pine tree, it's no surprise broken bones and torn ACLs are reported daily in the NHL.

Finesse wise, combined what I mentioned above, try to dangle a puck on the slippery ice in a 4 to 5 foot radius in full speed without looking down... while going through a gauntlet of hockey sticks.
 

Bagumbawalla

Hall of Fame
Naturally, it is difficult to achieve a professional level in any sport, but tennis is not only a difficult sport to learn, to achieve success you need athleticism, stamina, well-honed technique, court sense and knowledge of tactics, the abilit to hit powerfully and with subtility and touch-- all while your opponent is doing his/her best to hit the ball away from you and frustrate your shots.

Golf may be difficult, but you don't have to chase down the ball to hit it. A baseball it thrown to the batter in a very narrow "strike zone". Gymnasts don't have someone trying to trip them up during an exercise.

Of course, there are other sports that are difficult to learn and make for challenging contests, but tennis has to be right up there at the top.

Just think about how a tennis player can go out and successfully play a social game of basketball, baseball, or almost any team sport-- but put the best baseball player in the world on a tennis court for a friendly game and they will look like the worst beginning hacker, making any kind of real game impossible.
 

Jyles

New User
>> no sport is the hardest, it differs per person, gennerally every person is differnt, some people are stronger mentally, some physically, so for a hardest sport, it depends what the persons weakness is, and if he/she can overcome in and how long it would take a person etc.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
Well going by that list it would make tennis #4, because wrestling, boxing+ playing kung fu is not a sport, that is called fighting.
 

randomname

Professional
Actually there was recent research done on 'athleticism' of all sports by espn. A committee of various scientists (sport psychology, biophysics, and other weird anatomy sciences) constructed 11 catagories of athleticism (power, strength, endurance, eye-hand coordination, agility, flexibility, overcoming fears, analytical aptitude, etc.)

Tennis actually scored 7th of 60, which I was quite impressed by. I can't remember the website or many of the scores, but if anyone here is a frequent at bodybuilder.com it was under the sports training thread in the arguement for 'hardest sport' thread.

1. Boxing
2. Ice Hockey
3. Basketball
4. Football
5. ?
6. ?
7. Tennis
60. Fishing

I was quite surprised, I always considered swimming, wrestling, and boxing to be the three 'hardest' sports, which they may well be. Of course, the research was done purely on 'athleticism' which vaguely combines physical demands, natural athleticism, as well as mental strategies, and many other attributes.

Of course, I've recalled hearing McEnroe proclaim professional men's tennis to be 'the hardest physical strain a person can put their body through.' Which to be is an over-statement if I've ever heard one. I love tennis with a passion, it's almost 'my life,' but I don't think it's physical demanding, mentally challenging, or 'hard' at all, I respect other sports more than I do tennis concedingly.
the problem with that list is it doesnt take into account the insane amount of training it takes to make it to the top of the sport, in tennis, swimming, skating, or gymnastics you basically have to start by the time your 8, live at acadamies and practice atleast 5 hours a day your whole life, and compete with the WHOLE world (not just your own country, like football or basketball) while a great football player will most likely not pick up the sport until their pre-teens, have a fairly normal life in high school, and not really start the super-intense training till college
 
I agree with the list, and I believe them to have used 'averages' among various positions, or they may have selected someone at random. Either way, I don't see this as any reason to completely dismiss this article as evidance for arguements in context. Yes, some positions may be inclined to score differently than others, but it would certainly not be such an extreme amount to drastically make the scores incorrect.

Also, the level of commitment required to become professional hardly considers a sport 'harder,' potentially it is argued to be 'harder' to make a living at but nothing beyond that. It simply admits that the sport requires less cross-obtainable skills whether it be motor skills, eye-hand coordination, muscle mass, fast-twitch muscles, etc. The young devotion to the sport to be competative admits to a greater requirement of these less, maybe human, required skills. One should also acknowledge tennis as an important peice to the upper-classes of worldwide society; where, money is quite abundant and in consistent surplus. These academies can often be reveered as over-glorified baby sitters, or summer camps if you will. It is no suggestion that a five year old is capable of making such a life changing decision as to decide they will dedicate their life to tennis, and nothing else, the kids don't decide until they are significantly older and have previously been given the opportunity by their parents. I've met a lot of kids who have attended various academies, I actually had a kid on my collegial team who beat Andy Roddick at age 11 at Bolterris, and he had no interest in becoming professional, nor even serious about tennis. So, to simplify my off-topic rant; the tennis prodigies don't dedicate their lives to tennis until they are approximately the same age as those same football players in high school.

I don't beleive anyone should be bringing in financial state that a sport is in, or the financial situations of the sports participants. Money does not equate to difficulty of the sport, nor athleticism within the sport, money is used to reward potential prospects to generate more revenue (entertainment.)
 

jagsv650

Rookie
I think beach volleyball is by far the hardest to make it big in. Really only the top 10 players on the AVP really see good money. And unlike a tennis tournament were a player plays 1 match per day a volleyball player could play 3-4 in a day. At the semi pro level a whole tournament will be played in 1 day which means your on the beach, quite often in 100 degree temps., for 8-10 hours. It's very common for a player to need to get IV drips between matches to control cramping and dehydration.
 

m_b

New User
I remember reading about a similar study in a general-interest - Sports Illustrated type - European magazine. Ranked in terms of athletic difficulty, tennis came a surprising second in the ranking as toughest competitive sport, after swimming if I remember correctly. The parameters used included strength, endurance, skill, the mental aspects, and the general demands on the body. Tennis had a particularly high combination of all of those parameters which made it one of the toughest sports.
 

NLBwell

Legend
I disagree with football being rated so high because each position becomes so specialized at higher levels. Most football players look like jokes on the tennis court. Leon Lett could never be a tennis player (too many unforced errors).

Basketball - aside from the center position, perhaps - requires a broad range of skills, even hand-eye to shoot effectively. In fact, it is very compatible with tennis - many pros are excellent at both sports (ie. John Lucas). I would think that Hockey would be similar, perhaps even more physical, though I've never played it (Borg grew up playing hockey).
Martial arts (and I would include boxing and wrestling) are similar to tennis in many ways requiring discipline and many hours of work as well as quickness, power, and flexibility. The discipline of tennis in its similarity to martial arts is often underrated.
So, aside from (american) football, you have a group of sports highly rated where a wide range of skills are necessary as well as great mental abilitites. Of these tennis is probably the most demanding in terms of thinking (I'm not including the mental/emotional demands of getting punched or kicked) and least physically demanding in terms of punishment (though endurance is another story).
 

35ft6

Legend
I agree with this list. You have to somewhat nuts to play any of the 6 sports above tennis.

I guess you have not played organized ice hockey. Besides the Goalie, forwards and D-man all need to possess mad skilz.
But some more than others, no? Like if you're the team goon, you probably don't possess the same skill sets as the team's leading scorer, right?
Finesse wise, combined what I mentioned above, try to dangle a puck on the slippery ice in a 4 to 5 foot radius in full speed without looking down... while going through a gauntlet of hockey sticks.
Try returning a 150 mph serve. A lot of my friends played hockey, and out of all the team sports, I'll agree that hockey probably requires the most skill development and training.
 

mellofelow

Semi-Pro
Try returning a 150 mph serve.
150 mph covering 100 ft with a bounce... I'll take that over facing someone slapping a 6 oz vulcanized rubber at 90+ mph standing 10 feet away. No lie, my team mate lost one of his testicle in a game.

Offensively again, try deflecting the puck in the air with a stick blade only 3 inches wide from a 90 mph shot inside 40ft.
 
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sureshs

Bionic Poster
Fishing is obviously the hardest sport for the fishes... when you're not a pro fish and don't win your matches, you die and become a part of somebody else's trophy.
Citing statstistics, it is nearly impossible for a fish to make it big...
What about Mardy Fish?
 

Tennismastery

Professional
150 mph covering 100 ft with a bounce... I'll take that over facing someone slapping a 6 oz vulcanized rubber at 90+ mph standing 10 feet away. No lie, my team mate lost one of his testicle in a game.

Offensively again, try deflecting the puck in the air with a stick blade only 3 inches wide from a 90 mph shot inside 40ft.
Unless you are standing 20 feet behind the baseline, you won't be 100 feet away from the 150 mph serve.

Regardless, every sport at different levels pose different sets of physical and mental needs. Tennis at the recreational level, with balls being pushed, dinked, and bunted back and forth, is not much more difficult than backyard badminton.

Yet, badminton and tennis, both played at competitive or tournament levels require training, proper learning, ample athleticisim, mental toughness, and more. (Try returning a shuttlecock traveling at 150 mph standing only 30 feet away!)

Watching Nadal and Federer play this morning on television, most players can't imagine what a 20+ ball rally involves in terms of footwork, racquet control, spin, and endurance. Not to mention, they often follow up these rallies with similar rallys after only 20 seconds of rest.

From a professional stant point I appreciate this aspect more than just the stroke components. As a 5.5 player, if I get into a 20 ball rally--even at speeds that are not on par with Fed and Nadal, I'm really winded...and I am in good shape. (Ok, I'm 48 years old...but, still!)

Show me a football, baseball, basketball player or boxer, hockey player, or any other sport player who could stay out there doing that kind of sprinting, hitting, touch, and power, for three consecutive hours (without having a 20 minute 'intermission' or opportunities to sit on the bench for a good portion of time!).

I'm not saying that other sports don't have great or even greater athletes. I have always admired basketball players being able to pass, dribble, shoot and go up and down the court for relatively long periods of time.

One of the hardest things I have ever done was wrestle in my high school phys ed class for three minutes!

And, I don't think I have ever been as tired as racing canoes at Disneyland for 4 minutes...probably the most exhausted I have ever been!

But, tennis, as mentioned, uses a great many skills, a great amount of mental focus, and tremendous endurance at the highest levels. You won't see too many top ranked men or women players have a big gut, flabby or simply out of shape!
 
Actually there was recent research done on 'athleticism' of all sports by espn. A committee of various scientists (sport psychology, biophysics, and other weird anatomy sciences) constructed 11 catagories of athleticism (power, strength, endurance, eye-hand coordination, agility, flexibility, overcoming fears, analytical aptitude, etc.)

Tennis actually scored 7th of 60, which I was quite impressed by. I can't remember the website or many of the scores, but if anyone here is a frequent at bodybuilder.com it was under the sports training thread in the arguement for 'hardest sport' thread.

1. Boxing
2. Ice Hockey
3. Basketball
4. Football
5. ?
6. ?
7. Tennis
60. Fishing

I was quite surprised, I always considered swimming, wrestling, and boxing to be the three 'hardest' sports, which they may well be. Of course, the research was done purely on 'athleticism' which vaguely combines physical demands, natural athleticism, as well as mental strategies, and many other attributes.

Of course, I've recalled hearing McEnroe proclaim professional men's tennis to be 'the hardest physical strain a person can put their body through.' Which to be is an over-statement if I've ever heard one. I love tennis with a passion, it's almost 'my life,' but I don't think it's physical demanding, mentally challenging, or 'hard' at all, I respect other sports more than I do tennis concedingly.
It's hard for me to swallow those results, mostly cause I don't think you can necessarily encompass all levels in one rating. For example, the nerve rating for tennis: surely there's an entirely different mental dimension to serving, oh, I dunno, your mixed doubles high school match, and serving during a grand slam final tiebreak. I used to play soccer and basketball, and I've been in both shoot-out and freethrow situations where the entire game literally rested on my performance, but I still get more nervous just WATCHING grand slam finals than I did then (e.g., playing in the state basketall tournament).

And take soccer, for example: basic skills are easy to master, and it's relatively easy to become "competent" or even "good." For example, esp. in women's soccer, you can pretty much start playing at any point between 4 yrds old and high school and catch up to your peers if you're naturally athletic, but at the true upper levels it's totally different. The best players who have the talent and skill to "make it big" are head and shoulders above the "good" players. Tennis seems more of a gradual spectrum of good to best.

On a differnet note, 103x I think it's absolutely adorable that you're so concerned about your little brother's success. ;)
 
A baseball it thrown to the batter in a very narrow "strike zone".
That strike zone can be as narrow or as wide as the umpire decides it's going to be.

In tennis, the only time you have to decide if your going to swing or not is if you're at net and the ball might go out, and you can determine the spin by the swing path. In baseball the variety of pitches, coming at you at different speeds, and you have to decide if you want to swing or not sounds pretty difficult to me. Also, a ground ball and a homerun can be a difference of millimeters of where the ball is struck. The nerves of pitching are up there with tennis too.

The only reason I'm arguing is because I play baseball, but no question, tennis is crazy hard. nawmeen?
 
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