By Raffles Tennis Exco ’20
Once upon a time, a friend of mine asked me what tennis is all about. “Isn’t tennis just 2 dudes whacking balls at each other?” I was horrified—how could one reduce the amazing sport of tennis to just “whacking”?
Well of course, this might be what the seemingly simple rules seem to suggest—use your racket to hit the small green ball over the net into the big rectangular space that’s called the tennis court. Simple, right? Not quite.
First and foremost, tennis is a game of delicate skill. Each shot is a work of art. One cannot just use brute force to whack the ball back, but must plan, aim and execute the best shot. Players can use a variety of shots—groundstrokes, volleys, dropshots—the list goes on.
Tennis is also a game of physical fitness. In order to survive the long gruelling matches, we must be able to run after every shot that the opponent hits. In fact, the longest tennis match ever played lasted 11 hours over three days!
But most importantly, tennis is a game of mental strength. Often, you might find yourself losing in a match, but the match isn’t over until the last point is played. There are cases where a tennis player is losing 0-6, 0-5, match point to the opponent, but overcomes such a great lead to win the match 0-6, 7-6, 6-3. Resilience, patience and mental fortitude are vital elements to playing good tennis.
As a wise man (our head coach, Weber Oh) once said, “Tennis is 5% skill, 15% physical and 80% mental”. And this is no doubt accurate of the beautiful game of tennis.
In order to attain such levels of competency, we train three times a week, with each session lasting approximately two hours. Our official training sessions are on Wednesday (2pm-4pm), Friday (5pm-7pm), as well as an unofficial self-training session on Tuesday (supposedly 4pm-6pm, but we’re flexible). However, during the tennis competition season, we ramp up our training efforts, with many of us staying back almost every school day to train, even with no official training. Each training session helps us improve our game through the careful guidance of our coaches. This is through a multitude of drills that aim to work on both the mental aspect and physical aspect of our game.
The season is the highlight of our year. It lasts about 1.5 months, and this means that we have more time to bond and enjoy the game with each other. During the season, in order to allow us to learn from experience and improve our game, everyone got the chance to play a match. We managed to achieve commendable results this year, with the girls’ team beating HCI with a scoreline of 4-1 in the finals, while the boys’ team fought hard in the finals against ASC(I), losing narrowly with a scoreline of 3-2, emerging as first runners’ up.
The saying goes: “never date a tennis player, love means nothing to them (in tennis we refer to 0 the score as ‘love’)”, but we’d like to disagree. Our common love for tennis has brought the team together. This extremely tight-knit community supports each other both on and off the court. We regularly go for team dinners after trainings on Fridays (which coincidentally happens to be the highlight of the week for most of us), as well as the occasional outing to go bowling or karaoke.
If you wish to join us, you’ll have to attend one of our trials, where our head coach will assess you based on a few factors—skill level, physical fitness and general attitude. You will get to rally with one of our players, and show off all your sexy shots, including your groundstrokes, volleys and serves. Anyone who has a passion for tennis and hopes to improve their game will definitely enjoy being a part of our CCA!