Perhaps due to the fact that it is often played head to head at its highest ranks, tennis is typically considered a very individualistic game. In some aspects, this is true – when you step out on the court for a singles match, it is just you and your opponent. You alone are responsible for your play, and take credit for your victories and accountability for your losses.
However, tennis is also a surprisingly social game, in a number of different ways.
The most obvious social aspect of tennis occurs when playing doubles, as you now share the responsibilities with a second player. Unlike team sports, where a large group of players collaborate, doubles involves only two people, making the accountability and trust between players even stronger. Doubles also requires strong communication, not to mention cohesive strategizing.
This bond can also hold true for those belonging to a tennis club or team consisting of many players. Even if the matches themselves are individual in nature, players must still remain accountable to their teammates, which typically leads to a sense of belonging and community. Players also generally take interest in what their teammates are doing.
Group courses or lessons can have a similar effect. While players typically want to win while playing a match, they also usually want to see their peers succeed when learning new techniques and skills. Countless times here at Australasia Tennis Aces we have seen players offer assistance to struggling players, even after competing against one another.
Speaking of tennis lessons – even the most accomplished pros out there did not achieve greatness alone. Everyone, from Serena Williams to Andy Murray, had some help along the way, with various coaches, nutritionists, friends and family members all lending a hand.
Though we can’t speak to each player’s personal situation, it is our bet that many tennis players list their favourite coaches and trainers from childhood as some of their earliest tennis mentors, and may even remain in contact with them years after their abilities exceeded that of the coaches.
Membership in a tennis club can also provide social benefits and a sense of community off the court, as most clubs host events, functions, and tournaments for their members. Something as simple as a community fundraiser can bring players together like you wouldn’t believe.
Naturally, meeting like-minded people at the tennis club can help people expand their social circle, network and, most importantly, make new friends. This is true the world over, but is especially true here in Hong Kong, with our significant ex-pat and immigrant communities.
Whether you are looking to stay in shape, get your competitive juices flowing or simply to meet new people and make friends, picking up a racquet and trying tennis in Hong Kong is a great choice!
See you on the court!