| By Eric Meditz

Why is it that tennis players seldom get any respect from athletes in other sports? I remember many times growing up being made fun of because I played tennis. For some bizarre reason, being a “tennis player” comes with this stereotype that we are all wimps or weaklings that cannot handle competing or getting roughed around in other sports.

Here’s a quick example. One time, while changing into my tennis gear after school, a lacrosse player who was changing next to me asked me why I wasn’t wearing my Indian head dress. Confused, I looked at him as I put on my 1991 Boy’s 14’s Zonals t-shirt, with matching white shorts and headband. It was only after he asked me if I was going to open with “YMCA” or “In the Navy,” did I realize that he was making a bad joke at my expense.

Thanks a lot … jerk!

If you don’t think that stuff like this happens, you would be wrong, because it does. But, as I will explain, we the tennis players are the tough guys who have the most skill and have sacrificed more for our craft than any of these other guys in other sports could ever even fathom.

First off … let’s start with baseball players. I watch baseball games and laugh out loud when they take a guy out of the game because he has a blister on his pitching hand or he fell a little awkwardly while running to first. If you want to talk about wimps, there’s your answer. Tennis players play with blisters sometimes so painful and raw, it feels as if our grip is a smoldering piece of orange steel. But, do we start crying about how much it hurts and then spend 15 days on the disabled list … no! We man up, play with the pain and continue competing. Then, we do it all over again tomorrow, then the next day, etc. That’s something I don’t see from professional baseball players.
Score: Tennis players 1 Everyone else 0

I also watch those same pitchers pitch and it looks to me that it’s very similar to a tennis players serving motion. Everyone nowadays makes a big deal that they are on some type of pitch count where they can only throw 100 or so pitches. The question I have is then why isn’t a guy like Andy Roddick on a serve count? Wouldn’t that make just as much sense? Throughout a regular tennis match he could serve hundreds of times. Not to mention hitting forehands and backhands using the muscles in that same shoulder. Why don’t people make a big deal about tennis players serving so much? They should, but they don’t. The reason why is that we are strong and tough!
Score: Tennis players 2 Everyone else 0

Here’s another thing baseball players do that makes me laugh. Sometimes, when a big hitting player comes to the plate, the infield shifts to where they will stack the whole team towards the left or right side of the infield, depending on where this specific hitter likes to pull the ball. And usually, like clockwork, this player, who’s making about $8 million a year I might add, hits the ball to the general area where everyone is stacked. Isn’t that pathetic? Why doesn’t this “professional” hit the ball to the other side where nobody is standing? The reason is simple … he can’t. He doesn’t have the ability to. Tennis players, on the other hand, just don’t use reflexes to get back 130 mph serves, but we also are able to control those balls hit to us. We rarely hit balls that aren’t totally in out control.
Score: Tennis players 3 Everyone else 0

I watch football on Sundays, and I have a problem with those guys too. I love watching those pregame shows where they have a few ex-NFL players dress up in suits and sit at a desk giving their thoughts on the upcoming game, while they are holding pens and jotting stuff down as if they are solving the Pythagorean Theorem. One time, those guys were talking about some linebacker, while highlights of him getting by his blocker and sacking a quarterback played on TV. The guy in the suit said that this player’s skill and abilities will be the difference if their team win’s or losses. As soon as I heard this, I hunched over and buried my face in my hands just like my father did when I told him he had to pay for my fifth year of college. Skill? What skill is that? Okay, I understand that this guy is big … and I also understand that this guy is pretty fast and agile for a guy his size. I understand that! But what skill is he talking about. He can run up to a guy standing and jump on top of him? That’s skill?
Do you want to know what real skill is? Try playing for four hours in 100-degree heat, battling cramps and trying to find a way to win a 20-ball rally. And then, when that point is done, we go back up to the baseline to do it all over again, with no one to rely on but ourselves. The difference cannot even be compared.
Score: Tennis players 4 Everyone else 0

Growing up, I played tennis six days a week for about three hours a day all throughout my middle and high school years. I sacrificed so much to become the best tennis player that I could be. It did pay off, in that I was recruited and received a partial scholarship to attend a Big 10 University. But the thing that really gets under my skin still to this day is that I knew a lacrosse player in high school who played the lacrosse season that lasted only three months and that was about it. That was all the lacrosse he played throughout the year and that’s about all he sacrificed. And this guy got recruited and played lacrosse for an Ivy League school. He played about 1/100th the amount of lacrosse growing up compared to the amount of tennis I played. So who sacrificed more? Who do you think is the tough guy is now?
Score: Tennis players 5 Everyone else 0

Every sport that is being played by other athletes has some type of offseason. They have sometimes as long as six months to regroup and recharge. Tennis, on the other hand, is a sport that needs to be played constantly if you want to be good at it. It would be totally unheard of for a junior, college or professional player to take two months off out of nowhere because they felt like they needed a break. There is no offseason for a tennis player … ever! That’s why we are the toughest guys around. We just keep on going and going.
Score: Tennis players 6 Everyone else 0

The bottom line is that we, the tennis players, are really the true tough guys, compared to all of these other athletes. So next time when some insecure, meathead, angry lacrosse player who will probably get a nice cushy job in the financial world because of this “lacrosse player nepotism,” comes up to you to make some stupid remark about tennis players being wimps, please reference this article to him. If that doesn’t work … then just say that tennis players get hotter girlfriends!
Score: Tennis players 7 Everyone else 0


Eric Meditz

<p>Tennis Pro Eric Meditz may be reached by e-mail at meditzisfunny@yahoo.com</p>