Do the better players play singles or doubles?
The quick and dirty answer is that better players play singles. The difference between singles and doubles is that in singles, you don’t play with the "doubles alley" section of the court, which are the thin rectangular strips on the right and left side of the court. It’s not too much more surface area so having two people covering a court is much easier. That said, a lot of the best singles players still play doubles, like the sister duo of Venus and Serena Williams.
What’s the difference between major tournaments and minor tournaments?
There are four major tennis tournaments on the tennis tournament circuit: the Australian Open, French Open (aka Roland Garros), US Open and Wimbledon. These major tournaments are also called grand slams. All other tournaments aren’t considered "minor"; they’re just divided into different tiers. For example, the ATP has four tiers of events: Grand Slams, Masters 1000, ATP 500 and ATP 250. The farther you go in a tournament and the higher the tier, the more available rankings points AND prize money. At a grand slam, the winner receives 2,000 points (!!!) so they’re a big freaking deal.
Why is serving so important?
Generally, the server has the advantage in a game. That’s why it’s a HUGE DEAL when the returning player (person without a serve) "breaks" (see above) the person with a serve. The serve is important because:
- You’re the first one to hit the ball — you control the speed, where it lands, is there any spin on it, etc. This is like talking first over a dating app. Such a power play.
- In comparison to any other stroke, during a serve you’re hitting the ball when you have the most control and power. BOOM BABY.
I’ve heard tennis is tough on you mentally, why?
Tennis players have some of the best mental toughness of any sport. Why?! A couple of reasons. First, tennis (outside of doubles) is a one-on-one game. The players are on the court all by themselves, with no teammates to talk to, no one to talk strategy with, no one to joke around with and no one to pick them up when they could be feeling down. Next, tennis matches are long AF. The average length of a women’s game is just over two hours, while the men are usually on the court for around three and a half hours. As Madonna would say, time goes by, so slowly.