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Serving Up Tennis


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Tennis is a physical and mental game played by people of all ages, from beginning children taking lessons to retired seniors that are members of the country club in their community. Many sports can require so much from your body that you are only able to play them in your prime; the odds of seeing a professional baseball or football player over the age of 50 are rarely an occurrence in society today. However, tennis is a sport that will keep you active forever. It is a great source of exercise that engages all areas of your body, and can improve your overall health as the years pass instead of decreasing it. The key to each player’s tennis game, the serve, has evolved greatly as the years have passed. Each player has different form, technique, and has been taught a different way to serve. However, the goal always remains the same – to get the ball over the net and into the box on the court.

The most commonly seen serve in the high school level is the tornado serve. This serve spins and twists, and has no decisive path. Many believe they know where the tornado is going to end up, but at the last minute it dips and turns, destroying everything in its path, such as the game winning point. What makes the tornado serve so successful is its spontaneity. The person receiving the serve, along with the server, are both simultaneously surprised to discover whether the serve enters inside the court or not. This serve lacks precision and control, but is snapped with a great deal of power and just the right amount of trust that it will get the job done and win the match for the server.
A serve you rarely see at any level other than the professionals is the lightning serve. This type of serve is always performed by professional players like Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal. With speeds upward of one hundred miles per hour, these serves can literally be deadly if the opponent is not prepared. They strike in an instant like a lightning bolt without the warning sound of thunder, and are anything but exquisite as they somehow remain within the few feet of court the white lines encompass. Beginning players strive to form a serve as good as these, and attend practices and lessons every day in hopes of improving and molding their own serves to resemble the incredible ones seen on television. There are very few players at the high school level that have mastered the lightning serve, but if they have, they are one of the few lucky ones. These players automatically become unbeatable, and nothing else about their game matters because their opponent struggles to even return the serve.

The third and final tennis serve is known as the tsunami. This serve is performed by the go-getters, the players that have no fear, and that are willing to go as far as hitting their opponent with the ball to get ahead and win the match. In high school, getting paired up with someone that has a tsunami serve is like feeling the weight of a ship’s anchor dragging you down, because you know at least once, if not multiple times, you will be target practice and get hit during the match. The serve never starts out as anything spectacular when you are warming up with your opponent, but the sudden surge of power comes as a surprise during the first point. You notice that the speed is slightly faster than some of the other serves you have returned, but you are still not expecting much. The first game starts, and out of nowhere, WHACK! The ball comes as a rocket aimed right at your feet. Even with your best effort, you cannot get your lead filled shoes to move out of the way in time. The ball makes contact and eats your shin, and you instantly feel
the rush of blood surging to the spot that got hit as your leg becomes hot and tingly. You try to form a smile when they apologize, start to walk it off, pretend it did not phase you, and forget that you just gave up an ace serve. You walk to the other side of the court, and this time, stand to the far left corner in hopes of moving out of the way quicker to avoid any further wreckage from the tsunami.



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