It is now US Open tennis tournament season over here so I have the opportunity to see top tennis players competing against each other almost every night on TV. My entry for today for sure has something to do with tennis.
When I was a charming (ehem ehem) 13 years old boy, I was selected to join the Kelantan youth tennis squad, or Tunas Remaja Tenis MSSK (Majlis Sukan Sekolah-Sekolah Kelantan) as it was called back then. I cannot remember how I was chosen, but I still remember about the tough trainings we had to undertake for 3 days per week. Students from all over Kota Bharu were chosen for this squad, partially sponsored by the MSSK.
My father was a good tennis player. He used to win lots of tournaments within his working career life. He rarely came home without any medals. I was so proud of him. Not only tennis, but he also used to play many other sports like soccer, rugby, hockey, ping pong and badminton, and he was good at those sports.
So, when I told him that I was chosen for the youth tennis squad, he gave me his tennis racket. At that time, he already stopped playing tennis. He was happy that I continued the legacy in the family to play tennis.
As for the training, it was not an easy one as far as I can remember. We started with some basic stretching for upper and lower body, and then we had to run close to 2km for the warm up. After that came the stamina and strength training. One of the things I still remember is that we had to sprint for 10 laps from base line to the net and back to base line again after which we have to check our pulse recovery rate for every 30 seconds intervals. The coach said that whoever can reduce the pulse rate faster, that means you have better stamina. He further told us that we can reduce pulse rate faster by walking.
Next training was hand skills and legs positioning, or to make it simple, the body postures. The coach thought us how to hold the racket, how to do forehand swing, how to do backhand swing, how to serve, how to do valley, etc. One of the training was to throw the ball into the air as you do when you do overhead serve. We had to put our racket on the court in front of our legs, and the ball that we threw into the air must land on the racket repeatedly. When you throw the ball, you were not allowed to look at the racket. Just look up into the air and throw the ball. Can you imagine how difficult it was? If you can’t prove to the coach that you can throw the ball properly, you cannot proceed with service training. Because if we cannot throw the ball correctly, that means we will not be able to make a good service.
Unfortunately, I didn’t continue the training for long time since I had difficulties with transportation to get from my hostel to the training court. Normally I had to take public bus to get to the sports centre, which was situated about 5km away from my hostel. Sometimes I used to walk back to hostel after we finished training, it was so tiring. After few months, I stopped. So, it all ended there. I didn’t finish the full training which was supposed to be one year, or else I might have been a tennis player by now. I somehow regretted my immature retirement from the squad. Maybe it was not my fate to become a tennis player.
Nowadays, I still play tennis occasionally when somebody asked me to play with. But, to tell you a little secret, I really suck at servicing.
Let me know if any of you would like to play tennis but no partners to play with, I might be interested to accompany you. I’d love to play tennis.