- You still stink, but you can tie your own tennis shoes and hit
a ball you've got in your hand towards one of the cardinal points
without hitting yourself in the leg.
- You've taken a few lessons, and the odour is fading. Your strokes
begin to look less like a grandmother waving a flyswatter at a moth
and more like you're actually trying to accomplish something.
- This is when you start going to the club round robins, and discover
that, despite your previous misconceptions, you still stink. You're
doing alright if you're fed the ball, but everyone else is really
just being nice to you until they can win the point without embarrassing
- Same as 2.5, but with more topspin.
- The light is dawning. Your feet begin to move more efficiently.
They do not remain glued to the baseline, but begin to move around
the court, even up to the net on those occasions that you feel like
walking back to the fence to pick up the ball that passed you.
- Your discovery of how to hit a serve and overhead allows you to
be one of the people politely destroying 2.5 players on round robin
- The ball goes where you will it to go, with authoritative pace
and spin. You are king. You are undefeated on Round Robin night,
and wish to test your mettle with a greater challenge. You ask to
play a match with your club's top players and after getting your
ass whomped realize that, in fact, you stink. "But," the
Div 1 team says magnanimously, "you're getting better."
- Around now, pretty much everyone else at your club stinks. League
play is the only way to get a decent match, and you're starting
to think pretty well of yourself.
- You crush some 5.0 punk in a league match, and tell him he stinks.
- Tennis scholarship. You go to Stanford, play for the university
team, and have some sixteen year old prodigy bagel you in a practice
set and tell you that you stink.
- You are offered a berth in a local ATP satellite, and lose out
in the pre-draw round robin stage. One of the people in the audience
played tennis with you back in round robin, and he tells you that
you looked pretty good out there, but your backhand still stinks.
- The pro level. If you're Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, your forehand
stinks worse than Edberg's. You got to this level by yelling at
referees or puking your guts out and beating quick-serving Spaniards.
You've got a terrible serve, an irritating grunt, the best/worst
face/legs/ass/boobs in professional sport and a wife who slaps officials
when she disagrees with line calls. You've got no control, you're
undisciplined and aren't willing to work hard and it would be great
if you could just string together three weeks of consistent tennis.
You don't know for sure how many miles there are to a kilometer,
but you're tanking because you don't want to lose your number one
ranking. You've been stabbed by a German weirdo, and took the number
one ranking unfairly because of that. You got your ass kicked at
the U.S. Open, and God was with you the whole time, but he wasn't
helping you out much. You might be gay, but it's being vehemently
debated, and probably nobody really cares anyway. You don't deserve
the ranking you got, 'cause you only played on one surface, but
that's OK since a drunk drove a Chevy into your kneecaps. Your girlfriend
is suing you because you're rich and she's been given the boot,
but your lesbian relationship with another touring pro is going
just fine, thanks for asking. You stop claiming that image is everything
when you realise that it's covering for the fact that you're a loser
who can't win a tournament and decide to play like you mean it.
Your tongue wags when you're playing. You're boring to watch. John
McEnroe and Bud Collins are saying inane things about you on international
television. You're exciting to watch. You're determined, but play
a moon-balling, catch-and-fetch game that might win matches but
is esthetically displeasing and you're a little on the plump side
besides. And people on rec.sport.tennis are still debating whether
or not you stink.