Have you noticed this phenomenon that the best players of a tennis are also very good at, or at least commit themselves/have committed themselves significantly to, other sports. This hopefully says something about the universality of the skill set utilized in tennis. What are some sports known to be played by professional tennis players?
Excellent hand-eye coordination, enduring short sprints interspersed throughout a time of around one hour or more, and having a three-dimensional awareness of your surroundings. Do these characteristics read like those required to play better tennis? They are I have to admit, but I am in this case talking about basketball. Given the strong parallels in terms of the specific skills needed for optimal play, it wont perhaps be surprising that many professional tennis players also play basketball. For a lack of space we only mention the most famous example here - Nick Krygios. His profession notwithstanding, it could be arguable that Nick is first and foremost a basketball player. His rather uniquely heavy-footed footwork is most probably a function of such. Nick even admitted it himself in the walk of his loss at the US Open of last year. 'I focus on basketball, ice creams and milk shakes..' was what he said.
- Table tennis
Despite the huge apparently huge difference between the two sports, the two sports are more similar than it is conventionally deemed. In fact we would argue that modern tennis today, is being played just like ping pong without most people actually realizing it. The swings - despite the massive disparity in length - actually about the same, along with the way that power is being generated for both sports. In addition swinging patterns of both sports having some major overlap, the way the point flows, and thus the state of mind needed to play the point effectively, is about the same for both tennis and ping pong. The ideas of controlling a point by generating time to re-position yourself if you’re out of position, pushing your opponent back off the table (baseline), and opening up angles on your opponent’s court are also overlapping in both sports. Thus it is no surprise that many tennis players are avid table tennis fans.
From the looks of it, this is the sport which most prominently overlaps from tennis. For instance, all of the Big Four are fans of this sportThe fact that the greatest tennis player in the history of the sport nearly became a professional soccer player, already says a lot about the relationship between the two sports. What are the similarities, though? We believe that it is due to the incredibly close similarity between the kinds of footwork needed in both sports. In basketball, your movement is mainly forward or sideways. This is very different in tennis and soccer, where movement is more like a 365 degree maneuver-about. Yes, that is it - there is only one aspect in which they are similar in, but tennis is after all 90% footwork.
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