Friday, 5 August 2011


My first challenge is Tennis.Perhaps not a sport usually associated with the Olympics, tennis appeared at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 but was dropped from the programme after the Paris 1924 Games. It returned 64 years later at Seoul 1988. The Tennis competition at London 2012 will feature five medal events: men’s and women’s Singles, men’s and women’s Doubles, and for the first time since 1924 Mixed Doubles.

I have held a racket in my life, convinced as I am of having poor hand-eye coordination. Furthermore I seldom partook in the national obsession with Wimbledon and its long awaited British Singles winner. In summary, I have a rudimentary knowledge of the game and no practice whatsoever.

With the favourable auspices of the mild English summer, I duly enrolled into a 6 weeks Beginners course at my local gym together with 7 other brave apprentices, most of whom seemed to be far more advanced than me! Dave, the coach, who looks a bit like actor Bryan Brown, helps us along with plenty of encouragement and the occasional sardonic remark.

Today I had my 4th lessons. In the midsts of poorly controlled volleys and misdirected serves, I established unequivocally that Dave, the coach, can do a pretty good impersonation of Tom Jones, while I do a poor impersonation of Rafael Nadal (despite the near homonymity).

So far I have learnt, in no particular order that:
  • the serve is crucial, master that and you are half way there
  • the serve is challenging
  • my serve is deadly, but utterly inaccurate
  • my forehand is good but my backhand is dreadful
  • one must always keep the eyes on the ball
  • preparation is key
  • don't run to the ball, let it come to you
  • "five" can sometimes mean 15, and "love" doesn't mean affection but nought-ing at all

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