Tennis is the toughest sport

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I have talked about tennis and how good it is for you, how it is the sport of a lifetime, how great it is to get younger players involved, and just how aware the governing bodies of tennis are to performance enhancing drugs.

Now, I get to compare our sport to the upcoming Super Bowl.

Football has one Super Bowl in one country.

Tennis has four super bowls on four continents, played on four different surfaces (hardcourt, clay, grass, and rebound ace.)

Baseball has the World Series, but it's not really the world. It's mainly the western hemisphere.

NFL players complain when they have to go play one game a year in London because of the time zone difference. Tennis players do this weekly on different surfaces, at different altitudes while adjusting to court speed (surface), ball speed (altitude), in addition to the elements that they are playing in.

So, when you want to talk about a truly worldwide and international sport, the only two are tennis and golf.

Having said that, in my opinion, tennis is the most singularly demanding sport mentally and physically.

Golf is very tough mentally. In team sports there is a give and take. Individually, you can have great game and lose, or sometimes you can have a terrible game and still win. In a singular sport, such as tennis and golf it's you and no one else.

In golf you play the course with a caddy at your side to help you make decisions. In tennis it's you versus your opponent, without any coaches.

Tennis does not give multiyear guaranteed contracts for salary. It is solely performance based. You make your living with each win, day by day and match by match. You are a sole proprietorship. If you are injured or sick, there is no paycheck. Embrace it, stomach it, and go with it.

Don't get me wrong, I love football, baseball, basketball, and soccer for that matter. But you do not get paid unless you perform. Really, Joe Flacco is going to ask for $20 million a year and has not even played in a Super Bowl yet. Forget whether he wins or not.

Moreover, football has a huge problem because they can't decide whether to let the players hit and play aggressively or not.

Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard was quoted as saying that football's future may not be strong.

"Thirty years from now, I don't think it will be in existence," he said last week.

Meanwhile, tennis is increasingly more physically demanding without the physical contact. In addition, technology (Shot Spot) has taken our sport to a place where line calls are not subjective. There are no less than 10 computerized cameras to monitor line calls in addition to the human eye. The technology is 99.5 percent accurate.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day it is an individual's preference to play an individual sport or a team sport.

Some athletes love and prefer team sports, while others love and prefer individual sports.

I believe that all sports lend themselves to a positive atmosphere and, hopefully, a confidence building environment. Especially for children, who benefit the most from learning how to win and how to lose.

Philip Perez is the assistant head tennis professional at Victoria Country Club. He can be reached by email at pperez@victoriacc.com.


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