Without fail before every match as a youngster, our manager used to say to us; “guys go out and have fun” or “enjoy yourselves”. As you grow older this gets tougher to comprehend.Nowadays you see so many serious elements to sport be the amounts of money spent in transfer windows or the constant want for success by diving or cheating or in the past few months’ racial abuse such as the John Terry incident. Tennis however is leading the way to help people enjoy the sport and it allows people to see how sport in general should be treated.
Certainly with the modern crop of amazing talent in the tennis ranks be it male or female, they still find time to put their playing rivalries aside to entertain. Players like Novak Djokovic who is without any doubt one of the best players to ever grace the grass, clay or hard courts, is also one of the biggest messers on the tour. Many clips on Youtube show Djokovic impersonating fellow professionals like Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova.
Recently we had Caroline Wozniacki taking off well known female tennis star Serena Williams in an end of season tournament by shoving her towels down her top and trousers. This simple aspect to the sport and the fact that other players can take it and give it back, give a human element to a sport which has refused to get caught up in a world where many other sports have become about money and the individual more so than the fans and audiences.
End of season tours and exhibition matches are a great way to show a different side to the players and to show off, which might not happen so much in the middle of a gruelling season. There have always been players with personalities on the tour such as John McEnroe, Boris Becker and exhibitionist Mansour Bahrami who have entertained.
This want and need to entertain and make people smile by playing their beloved sport is infectious and you see this same burning desire in every player. The world’s top four players are possibly the best there has been in the game, but they all get on as well. This unity comes across very well be it in a Wimbledon final or an exhibition game in London. These players and their attitudes are one shining light to other sports and hopefully the so called bigger sports will learn from the example tennis is setting.