A racket is neither a sword nor a shield.
It is a tool of deception.
The art of tennis is to ‘paint’ the ball with every stroke. Keep a firm grip on your brushstrokes, feel the ecstasy in your palm, fingers and toes.
Holding the entire court within one’s grasp
Is the true form of the game.
Tennis is a game of anticipation.
Never settle with the initial plan.
Playing tennis is a lot harder than playing cards.
Deft cards stack up against you if you ever claim total mastery of it.
To win a tennis match against a worthy opponent
Requires playing better by thinking better.
What leads to the path of tennismanship
Is the true ownership of one’s own court:
Returning the ball is an act of ownership.
Throwing a soft ball when is least expected
Is skillful tennis par excellence.
Power tennis mandates precision bombardment.
A good bombardier never returns with bombs unexploded.
Power to tennis is what engine to flying is.
Hit hard and soar above the opponent.
Listening to your voices when playing tennis
Is the greatest weakness of a player:
Empty yourself within before stepping on the court.
Reason with yourself over your errors but never admonish
When playing the game. A zen master is beyond self-reproach even in darkest moments. He knows the element of human error.
The Zen of tennis is to know when to turn your voice recorder off
And when to switch it back on.
A weak start in a tough match may be desirable
When the opponent takes you for a worse player:
Seize on their initial misperception without showing it.
Tennis math is an indispensable part of the game.
Without correct calculation you may win the points but lose the game.
Never argue with yourself when the match is on,
But pretend to argue to deceive the opponent into thinking you are off balance.
Let him lower his guard.
Staring at the moving ball is tennis’s biggest challenge.
Treat it like the still moon within your sight.
A good tactic when the game is tight
Is to play borderline delay when serving:
Seconds count when ruining patience is on the line.
A bad player can gain advantage by simply learning from the opponent.
Never lose sight of what (s) he has to offer.
A superb volley at the net is worth beyond a point.
Use it to undermine the adversary’s confidence even if you hit it by chance.
The game of tennis is the art of repetition but it is equally important to throw surprises.
Without surprises the game may be won but it will be flat.
To own the ball is the true zen of tennis.
A zen master, however, never boasts about what he owns.
Making the necessary adjustments in the middle of a game
Is a good ‘brake’ tactic that is never fully pre-planned:
A tennis minimalist never sketches more than a skeleton.
The tennis racket that does not respond to your motions should be kicked and punished.
Replace it only when it fails to respond.
Abuse it verbally if necessary.
The thing that makes your racket improve its performance
Is the thing that binds you and it together.
Know thy racket before letting it use you.
A tennis disciple is not an ordinary student.
(S)He must first acquaint himself with the geophysics of the game
prior to learning its aerodynamics: The parachute may not open if too neatly packaged.
The love of tennis goes with the intense dislike of it.
Imagine yourself a gladiator fighting for freedom.
Cage yourself in metaphors when you must in order to win.
Who you are on the court is a question not of identity
But winning strategy: Always couch the match with self-definition.
To be content with winning clean is a good strategy
But do not pursue it if winning dirty is your only option.
Questioning the line calls is always a reserved option.
Judging by the way one performs on the court
Is intrinsic to the game: the ballet of tennis is equally important.
To style yourself after a tank firing its cannons, that is the tactic of a master strategist
Especially when the opponent moves like a light horse: chariot yourself to whenever necessary.
In the altar of a stadium players meditate
As much before as during the game: empty yourself at both times.
To win the challenge of remaining focused requires letting go of the outcome.
A process tennis moves by leaps and bounds. Stay focus by focusing on the process.
The worst tactic of a tennis player
Is to vest hopes on the opponent’s mistake:
Always count on your own eggs of survival while spoiling the other side’s.
Assessing the opponents strength and weaknesses is mandatory,
but never central. One’s game is primarily dictated by self-assessment.
A good distraction tactic is to occasionally give meaningful stares to the opponent,
Making him think you are puzzled about something or judging him for a wrong move.
Quick stares can unsettle: Rely on them without seeking a quick return.
Embed your game with the sense of entitlement to victory.
Even when you fall short that is a good rehearsal for the future.
Exceeding one’s expectation of his or her own game is a good tennis player’s
Perpetual moto. But make sure you repeat it to yourself only once in a while:
Excess reminder punctures your tires to excellence.
A timely lob is inherent to good tennis, but it must come as untimely to the other side.
When you prepare to hit the ball imagine yourself a lion about to grab its prey by the throat. Tennisauras is essential to the game.
The training that it takes to develop your skill must never be apart
From the soul training that polishes you within:
Run the game as if your death depends on it.
Stay cool when you must but never lose sight of exhorting yourself to emotions,
Like fresh logs in a slowing engine, but make sure you don’t burn yourself on the furnace!
The balance between emotional velocity and the game
Constitutes its riddle of victory.
Tough players play against themselves
As much as against the opponent:
They overcome the odds within as they combat the odds without.
To draw an apathetic crowd to your side
Play monkey with the ball a little.
The animal instinct in tennis must be known
As the player’s second nature.
There are no rules in tennis intended to keep a player content
With his game. To keep getting better, that is the exceptional rule.
To achieve perfection in tennis is not impossible
If one seeks perfection in stages: just keep the last stage beyond your reach.
Tennis is a duel of smarts and finesse. They mix well only when kept apart as
A net divides the court.
The best way out of a humiliating defeat is a graceful bow.
Even the worst defeat is better than a rude exit. Accepting defeat, however,
Must be done conditionally, for you should always keep the option of future success open.
Nothing matters financially when you play tennis.
The only thing calculable on the court is the score.
Competition to tennis is like winds to a mill.
It rotates as long as it is stirred into action.
To compete effectively, to win, obliterate, the heart of the opponent,
Tennis is like a sour love affair.
Pumping yourself up after a splendid point
Tells the adversary you are more than you seemed.
Brace yourself for disappointing returns, but not
Forever. Turn your disappointment into fuel for fiery return.
To hold the racket in firm grip is not enough.
You must also let the rocket get a grip on you.
The right tension for your racket is partly determined by your power
And partly by your lack of it. Extra tension hurts when you neglect the latter.
To compensate for one of your weaknesses by relying on your strengths
Is a good stop gap measure, but a strategic error if relied on too heavily.
It is common sense to make early predictions about the outcome of your game.
But a novice mistake to keep within the bounds of predictions:
Always exceed it even when you predict comfortable victory.
A quick player knows the law of physics is essential to tennis.
Yet he may not realize how equally important is quick thinking.
Winning is the only telos of tennis.
Losing is only a prelude to winning, otherwise the game is lost to self-entertainment.
Take it seriously so that you can master it.
Listen to the sound of your racket hitting the ball
Like a violinist who fiddles the cords, you must know
A healthy from ill sound.
Looking without noticing the corners of your eyes or your nose
Is essential requirement for focusing on the ball, in turn requiring
Professional eye adjustment.
Tip toe at least twice when waiting to receive the serve,
As it keeps you off balance. Tennis is the game of unbalanced balance.
Your tempo is partly dictated by wind. Therefore you must learn
The science of meteorology. Without it the ball may move out of your
The main psychology of tennis is egotism. It is tennis’s only
Ideological battlefield. Altruism to tennis is simply egotism multiplied.
When your legs tire of running around the court and the pain sets in,
A temporary remedy is to promise them future reward.
Drink between the games to quench your thirst,
But it is equally important to manipulate your thirst by occasional dry spell.
Endurance is an ever improving process. Do not be content with what you were
But what you will become by connecting your soul to the net of improvement.
A casual player is not a good candidate to the zen of tennis, which
Demands seriousness as its entrance exam. But once inside, then you can afford casualness.
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