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Tennis Courtships

Finding a tennis partner is a lot like dating; there’s this nervousness and excitement about asking someone to play with you, whether they like you, and whether they want to enter a tennis marriage.

Once my friend set me up with one of her colleagues who was a really good tennis player.  He was a 4.5 and I am a 3.5 and we were going to play an 8.0 mixed team together.  The first time we practiced I was really nervous about whether he thought my game was any good.  I got hit in the eye pretty badly by our opponent so I wasn’t really able to play my best tennis. 

Afterwards I tried to get the scoop from my friend:  Did he like me?  Did he ask about me?  Did he think I was any good?  Unfortunately, we did not win any matches during the season so I don’t think he had that much fun and he never asked me to play again.  I wasn’t too upset because he really was out of my league.

In many cases, spouses do not make good tennis partners.  Usually the husband has high expectations for how he believes his wife should play, and this tends to get expressed as criticism on the court. Then the wife will get mad and tell the husband to worry about his own game.  In fact, it’s often a useful strategy when playing a married couple to try to get them to fight during the match.

While tennis divorces are not as painful as real divorces, they can cause hurt and angry feelings and potentially end the friendship.  Often tennis marriages end when one player moves up in rating, the pair goes on a long losing streak, or one partner cheats on the other partner by playing in a tournament and/or league with someone else.

I once had a tennis divorce when my partner moved up to 4.0.  While we dominated at 7.0, I was not good enough to hold my own at 8.0.  He started to get frustrated with my game and was asking me to make shots that I didn’t possess at the time.  I told him I thought we should both try to find someone stronger to play with and he was surprised and hurt by this.  After some tense conversations, we were able to part on good terms.

Because I live in a small town, you pretty much know everyone’s game and who is involved in a tennis relationship.  But if you live in a big city, it might be nice to have a tennis dating website that could help you find a partner.  It could be called tennismatch.com and the slogan could be: we’ll help you find a winning partnership.

My description might go something like this:

Female 40 and over player with a 3.5 rating looking for a mixed doubles partner to compliment my game.  I’m a lefty with a great backhand and serve and I am crafty with my use of spins and lobs.  I prefer the baseline and play great defense but I am comfortable at the net and will put the ball away when I have the chance.  I like a partner who demonstrates good sportsmanship, has a positive attitude on the court, and never stops fighting for the win.

That makes me sound like an appealing partner, don’t you think?

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

3 responses »

  1. I love your description that you would put on Tennismatch.com. So true……
    You are right about tennis relationships and tennis divorce. Then there is the tennis player that moves away……..

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  2. Spot on Christy…great description of your tennis game….you may be on to something…we can have tennis dating…try out a partner for a few months..or tennis whores..move from partner to partner…and tennis marriage. There could be different membership levels…umm

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  3. I might try out tennis slut for awhile.

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