Some years ago, in his book You Cannot Be Serious, John McEnroe appended his thoughts for the future of tennis. Remember that he spoke from the viewpoint of a perfectionist and that his artistry in the game makes him among the best competitors on earth even yet. Among other recommendations made in his despair about the future of the game from this lofty position, John thought we should go back to wooden racquets and that the service line should be moved three to six inches closer to the net. John didn’t have much faith in his fellow man and the game to evolve.

John forgot that even though the racquet technology he feared would progress even further, the game could be managed at the court surface level, the athletes would improve, the racquet technology would also provide control through spin and stiffness to manage the increased speed of the ball and finally that the main game played for recreation would always be doubles.

Tennis is played from a self rating of 3.0 through professional play by the results. The winner under whatever scoring system is used is the better player. You can play alone or you can play two to a team in a match. By far the more popular game is doubles where the game is faster, requires more net play and angles and somewhat less mobility if not foot speed.

Pleasure in huge amounts is had by every level player. One great shot in a losing cause is the only memory that will remain for the average man. The body and mind have muscle memory so that results generally improve at the early level through the unconscious without a great amount of thought, training or practice. Granted that some will have more ultimate ability than others, there is a pleasurable competitive game at some level for all who wish to play. That doesn’t mean that the last steps to superiority like McEnroe are not difficult, but that is not the norm for the game.

This country is turning to a popular stricter diet because of the ravages both personally and physically of obesity and the impurity and cost of food. That will aid the game in the mobility and foot speed of its average player in coming generations. Once in some semblance of shape, lifestyle and game pleasures will give the average competitor reason to endure.

Finally, the speed of the surface today is noticeably slower today from the professional ranks to the public courts. Coupled with the fact that all players like to play with over and under spin and that the new racquet technology permits greater spin at lower swing speeds, more fun is to be had. It doesn’t take long for the starting player to realize this. Once smitten, there is usually no turning back.

McEnroe was a younger man back then and spoke from the vantage point of having been the best player in the world for four years. His personality and ability will probably never let him see the total fun of all the games of tennis for all levels, but at least he’s probably going to be more accepting through maturity of the wisdom of the majority of the players of this great game(s). Maybe he reads this forum and will see that his great game is going to prosper without enacting the court and racquet changes he suggests.

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