When you watch a sport, the strangest questions often come to mind. To address those, in this article, I have answered the 16 most common questions about why tennis players do certain things.
So read on to get answers to all your questions!
You have undoubtedly heard it while watching a tennis match; some players grunt quite loudly when hitting the ball.
This grunting has been the topic of discussion many times already, as some tennis players complained that the grunting of their opponent is distracting them too much, or that it is too exaggerated.
The grunting started with Jimmy Connors in the 1970s. Other players known to grunt a lot are Maria Sharapova and Monica Seles.
But why do those tennis players grunt?
One of the reasons tennis players grunt is that it allows them to put more power into their shots. Research shows that players who grunt hit their groundstrokes 3.8 percent faster than tennis players who don’t grunt.
Grunting is even more effective for serving. Tennis players who grunt have a 4.9 percent faster serve than players who don’t.
Rhythm is another important reason for grunting. By making a sound every time you hit the ball, you synchronize your breathing to hitting the ball.
This helps players to get out of breath less quickly and contributes to increased power.
Grunting can also be used to throw opponents off their game. If the grunt is loud enough, opponents cannot hear how the ball is being hit.
This can cause them to misjudge the speed or even the placement of the ball.
Sometimes tennis players blow on their hands or fingers in between rallies. They do this to dry out their hands a little. Sweat can make their grip on their racket less firm.
Blowing on the fingers can also be a moment to get calm and mentally prepare for the next point—a small break to regain complete focus.
Another explanation might be that Roger Federer does it. Roger Federer is a tennis player that many other players look up to, so they might have started to imitate them, whether that happened consciously or not.
Fingers are essential for playing tennis. Without them, you simply wouldn’t be able to hold a racket.
During a game of tennis, your hands get sweaty, and the racket might twist and move in your hands. This can cause blisters.
The tape tennis players put on their fingers is primarily to give their blistered fingers a chance to heal. Sometimes, they even put it on to prevent blisters altogether.
Especially players with relatively dry hands use tape. The most famous example of a tape-loving tennis player is Rafael Nadal.
Tennis matches can last a long time. They can ask a lot from your body, especially if you are a professional athlete.
In order to keep energy levels and sugar levels up, it is a good idea to have a snack in between sets or after a few games.
One of the best snacks to provide you with some energy are bananas.
Bananas are rich in carbohydrates and potassium, which are very important for athletes.
Carbohydrate helps the players get energized quickly, which can be very necessary during a long and intensive match.
Potassium helps prevent cramps, which certainly is something you do not want to experience during a match.
Besides that, bananas are easy to digest. Therefore the tennis player is less likely to get a stomach ache due to eating and sporting so closely after each other.
Most tennis players bounce the ball before they serve. The number of bounces can vary a lot between different players. For the most part, this is just a ritual.
The reason players bounce the ball is to be able to get focused. You don’t want to rush into a rally because then you might make mistakes.
Tennis players also want to serve to their best ability because it gives them the chance to dominate a rally.
Two other reasons can explain the bouncing, although it does not apply to every player.
One of these reasons is that each ball bounces differently. A ball that has been used more might bounce less high.
By checking how high and fast the ball bounces, the players can adjust their serve.
A second reason could be to influence the opponent. Some players like to have as little time as possible between rallies, so they might lose some focus if their opponent takes their time before serving.
In general, there aren’t a lot of clothing rules and restrictions in tennis. Wimbledon, however, is an exception to this.
While you can see the most vibrant colors during the matches at the Australian Open or the US Open, at Wimbledon, all players are dressed in white only.
The reason for wearing white at Wimbledon stems from the 1800s. Many women of high status played tennis, and it was very inappropriate for them to be seen with sweaty patches or stains on their clothing.
The color white does not show the results of sweating a lot; therefore, this was the preferred color.
The All England Club, which hosts Wimbledon, loves tradition and therefore never lets go of this rule.
They are very strict about it, colored borders can’t be wider than one centimeter, and even the players’ underwear has to be white if it is possible to be seen.
That includes if it shines through their wet, sweaty clothing a little.
When tennis players check the balls, they are actually checking the hairs on the ball. Tennis balls have a lot of tiny hairs on the outside.
When a ball is new, these hairs are all nice and smooth, sticking closely to the ball. When a ball is a bit older or used more, the hairs become more fluffy.
A smooth ball is usually used for the first serve because the smooth ball allows for more speed.
The fluffy ball is usually used for the second serve. This ball facilitates a better grip and thus more accuracy.
Tennis is a sport that requires players to be strong and stable mentally.
Sometimes rallies can be long and difficult. A shot you were sure would get you the point gets returned, and sometimes your opponent accidentally hits an amazing shot.
These can all be reasons for frustration. These emotions need to be let out in some way.
Because tennis players are constantly holding a racket, they always have something accessible to throw.
If a tennis player smashes their racket, it is to let out the frustration and relieve the tension.
It is not a good habit though, it is bad for the racket, unsportsmanlike, and is not allowed either.
Tennis players can get fined up to 2500 dollars (2217 euros) if they smash their racket, although they usually get warnings first.
When a tennis player hits a ball that hits the net and falls into the opponent’s court, you often see that player raise his hand to apologize or even verbally apologize.
This is because most of the time, the opponent does not get a fair chance to return the shot because the net changes the speed and direction of the ball.
It is perfectly allowed in tennis to make a point by hitting the ball against the net, after which the ball lands on the side of the opponent.
Still, it is usually not how you want to score a point.
Apologizing gets done out of sportsmanship and respect.
Jumping up and down before serving is usually done by players who want to regain their focus or simply don’t want to be standing still for too long.
It is not in any way necessary, which is why not all players do it. You could say it’s a ritual.
Jumping during a serve, however, can be very beneficial. When players jump to hit their serve, they create more power and thus can hit the ball much faster.
Besides, by jumping, their hitpoint will be higher as well.
The strings in a tennis racket are attached to the racket’s frame.
This means there is some room for the strings to be moving in the middle of the racket, especially, as the ball puts pressure on the strings when a player hits the ball.
In an ideal situation, the strings form 90 degree angles. So when the strings have moved a bit due to lots of contact with the ball, tennis players sometimes readjust them to use their racket optimally.
It originally started as a way to end the international broadcasting signal. After a match, the players get interviewed, and at the very end, the camera gets signed.
This marks the end of the international broadcast and starts the local one. It is more of a symbolic act, and nowadays, it is a tradition lots of fans look forward to.
Some players find it fun to do, and others find it less funny. Maria Sharapova has even written all kinds of notes instead of her signature.
A change of balls can affect the match in significant ways. New balls react differently to the racket than old balls, and players know this.
They know how to hit an old ball to get the same effect as when hitting a new ball. They might have to adjust their power or spin rate to the balls.
When balls get changed, this usually won’t go unnoticed by the players as they usually have to wait for it to be done before they can resume their match.
However, it is a courtesy for the server to show the new balls to their opponent to let them know they are playing with new balls.
It helps keep things fair, and it is also done to show sportsmanship.
When players show the balls while they are not new, they usually let their opponent know they are about to serve.
Tennis players switch sides a lot during a match. The players switch every time the sum of the played games in a set is an odd number.
Tennis players switch sides to keep the match as fair as possible. This means they switch after the first game and then switch every two games.
TAll kinds of external factors can affect a match, such as the sun that can shine in a certain direction or wind that can make it harder or easier to hit a ball.
It would be unfair if one player had the wind in their back the whole match while the opponent was struggling the entire game.
Most of the time, when a player has two bottles to drink from, these bottles are not the same. The difference is in what’s in the bottles.
Usually, one bottle will contain water to stop them from getting too thirsty and ensure their bodies don’t lose too much water.
The other bottle is often filled with an energy drink.
Sports drinks like Aquarius can help with other factors than just water, such as sugars. More sugar allows players to burn through more energy.
Sunglasses are made to help people when the sun shines brightly into their eyes.
The darkness of the glass allows people to see better in the bright light, but during a moment of shadow, the world can appear really dark.
This and other weather conditions prevent tennis players from wearing sunglasses during a match.
You do not want to miss a ball because the sun went behind a dark cloud for a moment.
Besides that, sunglasses can play with depth perception, and thus players can make errors in judging where the ball might land.
I hope this article has given you answers to all the questions you had about tennis players.
Of course, there is much more to tell about this great sport. So be sure to check out the other articles as well!