But it's not always all that much fun to playby William Skidelsky / June 16, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
When I was young I played a variety of sports: cricket, tennis, football, squash. Nowadays, I only play tennis. This winnowing of my interests may be a function of age (I’m 39), having a family (life is more circumscribed than it was), and convenience (there’s a club just down the road). But it also reflects something else. Tennis, I’ve come to believe, is the most interesting sport there is.
There are, I think, three reasons for this. The first is complexity. Tennis may look straightforward (two players hitting a ball back and forth across a net) but it’s anything but. Technically, it’s hugely varied; no other sport involves so many different movements. All rackets sports, because they involve hitting a moving ball with a racket, are technically complex: racket players must master a far wider range of strokes than, say, snooker players and golfers. Tennis not only contains more basic strokes than other racket sports; it also features more variants (especially spin variants) of those shots. Table tennis (which also relies a lot on spin) probably comes closest, but in table tennis there are no volleys and no overhead serves.