Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Is indoor tennis proper tennis?

Is indoor tennis proper tennis?

I play a lot of indoor tennis. Mainly because the weather is so lousy in the UK and I don't have much time to play. So if it rains on a Sunday morning and I'm due to be playing outdoors, there goes my hitting for another 7 days.

Until last year I was a member of David Lloyd's in Raynes Park, London. It's a stones throw from SW19 so if it rains during Wimbledon fortnight you sometimes see the pros practising on one of DL's 12 indoor carpet courts. Venus and Serena were rumoured to have been there a few years back but there's no photographic evidence!

I always enjoy playing indoors but - and this maybe controversial - it's not proper tennis.

There's no wind, no glare from the sun, or bad light, and the bounce on indoor carpet or hard court is usually extremely consistent.

In short the experience is good, too good. Some days on indoor (super-fast) carpet you can feel like Federer as you hit a flashing backhand pass down the line. But then you go outside and get found out.

Despite all that I'm enjoying what little I have seen of the action in Madrid. There's been a buzz about Gulbis for sometime and yesterday he again lived up to the hype as for the best part of the first two sets he outplayed and outhit Rafa.

Elsewhere Roger seems to be feeling the benefit of his break - can't wait to see him take on Tsonga.

And Djokovic must have been pleased to see Hanescu retire injured in the third after the Romanian took the first and took the second into a tie break.

So don't get me wrong indoor is great to watch and I'm so glad its a fixture in the tennis calendar because the gap between the US and Australia is too long. But its not the real deal.

Tennis is an outdoor game.


van said...

Hey Steve: Man, am I torn on this post! I grew up playing outdoors in Alabama, where it was 100 degrees pretty much everyday over the summer. Talk about something that'll make you feel like a warrior, competing in those conditions!

A few years ago, I joined a club, where as I've mentioned before, I play indoors on clay. I've gotten so spoiled that whenever I do play outdoors now, the slightest bit of wind or glare from the sun, throws me off!

Outdoor tennis does provide a true barometer of your game, mentally and physically, but playing indoors is soooo nice!

Pamala Knight said...

Hi Steve,

I too play indoors mostly here in Chicago, but grew up playing outside (in Alabama and Louisiana--Van did you just get that twilight zone feel too, lol) and when I play outside, I'm so frustrated because I can't harness my shots in quite the same way.

I don't know that I'd say that indoor play is totally in a vacuum because at my club, there's the players on the next court, the spectators watching from either the seats or the overhang and sometimes, even the heating system or the air conditioning but all that said, it's still not the same as playing outside. Just different.

TopSpin said...

Up until last year I used to play indoor at Esporta in Croydon.

One day I invited a third friend (who doesn't play as often), and he looked on in awe as my regular partner and I engaged in high pace rallies agressively and consistently for around an hour.

Unfortunately we then had to vacate the indoor courts as a tournament was being held there.

No sweat I thought - we'll take it outside, and so we did. Suffice to say the rallies were a lot shorter ending more often than not in an unforced error. My other friend even managed to take sets of both of us.

You're absolutely right - its just not cricket, I mean tennis!

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I generally used to play indoor tennis both(Indoor Tennis & Outdoor Tennis) are slightly different each other. In Indoor games we generally play with our close friends on other-side In Outdoor games we play with different- different candidates you not feel comfortable. But you enjoy lots in Indoor Tennis.

Outdoor Tennis provide you lots of Confident. But playing indoors is so nice.

Tennis Lesson Online

Sara said...

Hi steve I'm new to your blog and I'm liking it.

About the indoor/outdoor tennis thing. You're right, indoor conditions are so much easier but that's one of the reasons I find it great to watch. When a player wins or loses indoors it's because he was genuinely better or worse than his opponent that day, he can't blame it on anything else. The field is level; it completely boils down to skill.