Stumped as to where to find your next summer romance? Maybe you should try the public tennis courts. You’ll find me reclining in an Adirondack chair behind the fence where those two cute girls are hitting, bib cinched around my neck. For the drool, of course.
If you’re skeptical of the tennis player’s sex appeal, consider they offer the following:
Impeccable Fashion Sense
Football has tights, baseball has stirrups, volleyball has kneepads and tennis has … polo shirts and mini-skirts. Form-fitting and all white, if you please. Tennis apparel is among the classiest, trendiest and most versatile of sporting outfits, presumably in an attempt to save players a trip to the locker room when transitioning from practice court to cocktail party. Fun fact: Vogue editor Anna Wintour is a frequent attendee of world #1 (and resident tour fashion maven) Roger Federer’s personal luxury box at tournaments.
Choice Vacation Destinations
Two or three times a year, the tennis player — much like his golf-club wielding brethren — will likely insist on a vacation to some remote tennis resort. Before you contest that such an expenditure would be better put to use at a beachfront property or five-star hotel and spa, remember that most tennis resorts are actually the principle amenities of … a beachfront property or five-star hotel and spa! And should your tennis player be a big fan of attending pro tournaments, prepare yourself for the drudgery of his/her bucket list item #1: seeing all four Grand Slams, whose drab, unfathomable locales include Melbourne, Paris, London and New York.
Mixed Doubles, Anyone?
Seriously, can you think of another sport in which you and your beloved can align forces and take on your in-laws in a very real and competitive way? Mixed doubles differs from just about every sport in that it pits women and men against one another at even the highest levels of play. How delightfully egalitarian. Now let’s hit the showers … together.
Eternally Tan … Sort Of
Or they would be, if not for the presence of crew socks, wristbands, parcels of athletic tape swathing various expanses of the body and (for girls) shirts with intricate webs of straps where a back should be. Obviously, this leads to some imperfect tanning patterns. Until you see a tennis player in the buff, though, the allure of his/her tawny forearms and sun-bronzed face will deceive you into thinking you’ve met someone who dwells in endless summer.
Chiseled But Rarely Bulky Body
My editor Lauren recently shared her thoughts on the male soccer player’s nonpareil physique. “The soccer player has a natural, incredibly sexy shape,” she moaned (or at least that’s how I imagined the tone of the article). I would retort that the tennis player is a game rival to the soccer player’s throne. Flexibility, core strength and fitness easily outrank musculature as the sport’s most desirable attributes, which limit bulk while encouraging a flat stomach. Women tend toward the lithe and long-legged, while your prototypical male measures about 6′ 2″ and approximates Michelangelo’s David, muscle-wise.
If you watched a tennis match blindfolded, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for something vaguely orgiastic. The women’s game, especially, has become synonymous with violent squeals and blood-curdling shrieks in recent years. While the proliferation of loud grunting on tour has often compelled me to watch tennis matches with the volume muted, I can think of at least one activity during which audible outbursts of passion are totally permissible. Don’t be surprised for some weird looks from your neighbors, though.
Lifetime Country Club Membership, and Other Material Perks
Your racquet-twirling significant other probably isn’t going to stop playing any time soon, as tennis is one of those sports that practitioners cherish for its lifelong appeal. It sure isn’t cheap, though. A decent stick can run well over $200 and court-time — especially in cities — is a precious commodity, and priced accordingly. Those who can’t lay claim to bottomless trust funds (and many can), usually boast lucrative jobs to foot the bill for their favorite pastime. In other words, if you manage to shack up with a poor tennis player, well, you’re doing it wrong.
Endless Fodder for Sexual Innuendo
“Hey babe, would you mind grabbing my ‘Staff?* It’s tucked in my bag. There should be some balls behind it, too. Oh, and a little tip: you need to keep your wrist firmer on those strokes.”
*As in Prostaff, Wilson’s bestselling line of racquets.
Tennis Clubs Are a Great Place to Meet (and Date) New People
Bar scene not cutting it for you? Online dating drought? On the rebound? Look no further than your local tennis club. “Weekly clinic” is often a thinly-veiled euphemism for “Singles’ Mixer,” while “Want to hit some time?” is perhaps the most non-threatening pick-up line in existence (as long as you make it clear that you’re referring to tennis balls, and not pointing at your own body). You’ll hit some balls, enjoy some conversation and — if all goes according to plan — hit up the bar afterward for some drinks.
They’ve Got Love on the Brain
Every game, set and match in tennis starts with love. Literally. Because in tennis, the word “love” is a verbal placeholder for zero. Origin stories for this misnomer abound, but I prefer the thesis that tennis players are simply more fixated on romance than the average bear.