July 10th 2017
Today I sat and watched tennis for two and a half hours. I turned it on when I got home from work at 6pm, and sat and watched it until close of play at 8:30. Firstly, I watched Federer breeze past Dimitrov, and then I watched the final set of Nadal and Muller’s 4hr47min match.
I like watching tennis for the same reason that I assume I would like watching basketball if it wasn’t broadcast at ridiculous o’clock in the morning: points are won very frequently. Football is usually my sport of choice, but there’s not constant point-scoring in football.
There’s a lot of things to admire tennis players for as well. First, and most obvious, is the athleticism. It’s bursts of pace and endurance, as well as body strength. It surprised me that Nadal and Muller only covered 6km between them in the almost 5 hours, but a lot of that is high intensity.
Then there’s the levels of concentration. The final set finished 15-13 in games, with the first break of serve coming in the 28th and final game. At 6-5, Nadal was 2 match points down and hit four unreturned serves in a row to take it to 6-6. An hour and fifty one minutes later were the next match points. Neither player dropped concentration that entire time. It’s crazy to me. As well as the athleticism and endurance, they have to be so focused.
In my running recently I’ve begun to notice the importance of the mental state as well as the physicality, and that’s paramount in tennis. One lapse in concentration at any shot at any point could cost you the match.
And again… five hours. That’s a hell of a long time, physically and mentally. Watching it was tiring enough.
Until tomorrow, it’s admirable really.