I Just Realized Tennis Doubles Is…Christy Vutam | January 31, 2014
I’m watching the Wildcard Doubles draw for the Challenger of Dallas, a $100,000 prized men’s professional tennis tournament, and something dawns on me about tennis doubles.
At its highest form – or as close to it as I’ve seen in person – tennis doubles is pure beastliness and anger and violence wrapped up in a gorgeous, graceful display of body limbs and muscles working together to hit a little yellow fluffy ball with a fancy stick. There’s no flailing of body parts here. Everything’s succinct and efficient, and despite the amount of power being generated, it all looks effortless.
One guy kills a serve; one guy smacks a return. Groundstrokes are blasted to and fro with seemingly little regard for the net player(s). Weak lob attempts are slammed down wherever necessary for overhead winners. Volleys are drilled at opposing players or at some unoccupied spot on the court, whichever location best to win the point.
As the ball is destroyed and points are won, the crowd erupts for each point, each display of brute force.
There is softness to the sport as well. They’re mostly in the moments in between the striking of the ball. The form is so pretty – the windup, the follow-through. The ease with which the players move, the anticipatory cuts when they poach and surprise us all. The deftness of hands, the precision with which they hit their angles. And, of course, the finesse shots: the half-volleys, the lob winners, the touch volley put-aways. Magnificent.
But it’s the violence that stands out the most to me as I take in the Wildcard Doubles tournament (the winners receive an entry into the main draw). It’s that quality that inspires my epiphany about this non-contact sport:
This is how tennis doubles is meant to be played. Violently.
And it’s. Beautiful.
Alright. Enough of that. Please return to your regularly scheduled programming of women’s recreational tennis.