The Tennis Court

The tennis court - bisected by a stiff net, with lines drawn on the ground. Who is to say it does not have a forgotten significance other than the obvious one?
 
He sat down on the bench and looked around him. Weeds had broken through the asphalt and climbed between the warped and lichened slats. The court stretched out on either side of him, empty and decayed. The cordage of the net was frayed and its tautness had relaxed into a sway-backed droop, but its presence suggested that tennis was still played here on occasion. He wondered what that occasion might be.
 
He had come upon this place while walking in the woods. There was a clearing in the trees and an embankment, then a tennis court in the forest. It had drawn him down. He had followed the lines, faint but still extant, as they described a series of rectangles on the ground. They gave him an inkling that there was something more to all of this, something overlooked.
 
Such angular geometrical shapes, nothing like the curves and imperfections found in nature, had to be an attempt to impose order on chaos. Boundaries were common to all ball games, as was the idea of the ball in motion. He could not think of any game which required a static ball.
 
After circumnavigating the court, he went in turn to both ends of it. He gazed over the net and beyond, trying to see with the eyes of a player. The soft light from an overcast sky filtered down through the leafy chlorophyll. He saw that this ubiquitous greenness faded to black beyond the boundary line at each end of the court. Humanity had once lived out there in the shade. It was a place they had shared with other ferocious mammals. Life was most likely tenuous and short. And so, in an act which raised themselves out of the food chain, they had invented the game of tennis. More accurately, tennis was merely one result in an evolution of ball games over millennia.
 
The ball must always be kept in motion. It was propelled originally by the naked hand, then by a racket, itself an extension of the hand, and harbinger of the industrial era.
 
There were rules, limitations of necessity which reduced the cacophonous complexities of life to a scale that could be managed by humans. The ball, so important to keep aloft, was allowed to bounce once. The bounce had a curious significance. If the purpose of the game was to create a model of life's dynamics, and then to influence or control them, in a way analogous to sympathetic magic, then the bounce might be seen as a flirtation with death. Its inclusion in the rules only made the model more vivid, and the magic more effective. It could be that the purpose of tennis was only for enjoyment, or for keeping fit. There is no reason why these purposes should not all run concurrently. They are not mutually exclusive.
 
As it travelled across the court, bouncing or not, the ball created a waveform, its length being determined by the distance between rackets. He suspected there was a special significance to this, perhaps a way to experience every game that had ever been played. The accumulation of such waveforms in a match would provide a distinctive colophon. He could not know for sure. It was an idea, nothing more.
 
At that point he had sat down on the bench. He did not believe in any of these thoughts. He considered it an arrogant fallacy to assume that one is obligated to believe one's thoughts.  Belief is completely irrelevant.
 
In the woods beyond the court, were trees in the process of falling. Some were already on the ground, dark and rotting. Others leant on their siblings. There was no breeze and no movement, except for a woodpecker furiously tapping nearby.
 
Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, Chris Evert, Andy Murray, Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, Henry VIII, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Gavin Tranent, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova.
 
He recited the names of the tennis players he could recall. All of them were known to the world. These people engaged their bodies in a perpetual struggle with the forces of entropy, for the betterment of humanity. Civilization was not something that could be attained once, and then appreciated for time ever after. It had to be maintained constantly. Winning was not as important as delaying the inevitable.
 
He leaned back on the bench and stretched out his legs, heels down, toes up. His mildly depressing metaphysics had made him thirsty. The crumbling dryness of the court, offered no relief. Nature was reclaiming it, with no concern for him. He thought perhaps that his thirst could be quenched by watching a few games. It would be an opportunity to test the waveform idea. But how to determine amplitude? Would the point of equilibrium be the centre between the ground and the highest position of the ball, or its median height, in any given shot? None of the information was available to him. It was an analogy made from science that landed in the realm of pseudo-science, more use perhaps in art than to him now.
 
If he was to watch a game, he was going to have to think one up himself. He stayed where he was. Nothing but silence and emptiness. He was trying too hard. Not complete silence, because he could hear the sounds of birds and insects, quite clearly, more than before, he realised. The majority of these sounds were the noises of eating, on a huge scale. It was as if the world around him was being devoured.
 
"Advantage Thundrel."
 
The game was already in play and had reached a moment of tension. He was looking to his left and saw the man about to receive the serve. It was Gavin Tranent, standing with legs apart and slightly bent at the knee, nervously twirling his racket with his right hand. At the other end of the court, his opponent was flexing to serve. It was shocking to see Thundrel toss up the ball and drive it over the net with unimaginable force. Unkempt greasy hair flew back from both of his massive heads which towered above the trees behind him. Watching from the bench, he spun around to see how Tranent, who was of normal stature, would survive the serve. Remarkably, gripping the racket with both hands, he returned the ball, causing it to skim just above the net and drop to the ground almost instantly. Thundrel stumbled and lost the point. In this case his two heads appeared to work against him. Both of them had lost the confident, malevolent grins of the moment before, when he had thought the game was his, and were now set in anxious scowls.
 
"Deuce."
 
The ball was already in Tranent's section of the court when he heard the boom, meaning that the projectile had surpassed the speed of sound. With an adroit feint, he suddenly turned an apparent back hand swing to a forehand, sending the ball in an unexpected direction, which perplexed the giant.
 
"Advantage Tranent."
 
Thundrel was now enraged and the sweat was dripping copiously from his brows. It must have been noon, the sky had cleared and the sun was directly overhead, burning off the green light. Tranent, oddly but understandably clothed in body armour, seemed lithe and full of energy.
 
Thundrel flubbed the serve twice. His anger had broken his concentration. His last attempt ripped a hole through the net.
 
"Game, set and match, Gavin Tranent. Two sets to one. Four-six, six-love, six-four."
 
The giant Thundrel turned and smashed his racket on the ground. He was a bad loser, showing no inclination to the honour code of sportsmen, either in victory or defeat, and abruptly strode off into the forest. He plucked up trees as he went and snapped them like matches in his great fists.
 
There was a ten minute break before the next match. This was to be a bout between Tranent and Ysbaddaden, a giant from Wales. Tranent leaned against a chair which had been brought on to the court for him. An assistant raised his vizor and held a chalice to his lips.
 
When the rest period was over, Tranent made short work of Ysbaddaden, who was old and slow. The afternoon drew on. He defeated three more Welsh Giants and a Scandinavian. His strategy had been the same all day - keep the ball close to the ground and to the bodies of his opponents, causing them to bend, and preventing them from using their full strength in a swing.
 
The ball was sized on a human scale, no doubt to compensate for the vastly superior strength of the giants. To them it would have appeared no larger than a marble or a pea. This was a disadvantage, considering their poor eyesight.
 
Jack-in-Irons appeared to be a formidable foe, all draped in chains and human heads. But he was more image than substance, and Tranent defeated him without much difficulty. By now, as the evening approached he was visibly flagging. It was not surprising, considering his day-long exertions, but the man on the bench could not stop himself from wondering if Tranent derived his almost super-human strength from sunlight.
 
His last adversary of the day, and the seventeenth, was Gogmagog. He was a minor celebrity among tennis-playing giants and made Tranent suffer horribly. For the winning shot in a tie-breaking game, Tranent summoned his remaining vigour and drove the ball as powerfully as he could between the giant's legs, just below his presumably monstrous organs of generation. Gogmagog got tangled up in his own body and was unable to parry.
 
The tournament was over. Most of the giants went away and became mountains. The Welsh ones certainly did. Tranent lay supine and shuddering on the court. His assistants were frantically pouring water into his helmet. He had done his duty for mankind, because after that day, humanity was never again bothered by that alternate and problematic species.
 
He raised himself off the bench with sleeping buttocks. It must be time to pick up his daughter from her dancing class. He left the court and climbed the embankment. Would it be possible to introduce a ball to the game of chess? It could be called Chessball. How would it work? Of course - this might be the perfect opportunity for the first game with a static ball.
 
 

© Tom Newton 2016

The tennis court - bisected by a stiff net, with lines drawn on the ground. Who is to say it does not have a forgotten significance other than the obvious one?
 
He sat down on the bench and looked around him. Weeds had broken through the asphalt and climbed between the warped and lichened slats. The court stretched out on either side of him, empty and decayed. The cordage of the net was frayed and its tautness had relaxed into a sway-backed droop, but its presence suggested that tennis was still played here on occasion. He wondered what that occasion might be.
 
He had come upon this place while walking in the woods. There was a clearing in the trees and an embankment, then a tennis court in the forest. It had drawn him down. He had followed the lines, faint but still extant, as they described a series of rectangles on the ground. They gave him an inkling that there was something more to all of this, something overlooked.
 
Such angular geometrical shapes, nothing like the curves and imperfections found in nature, had to be an attempt to impose order on chaos. Boundaries were common to all ball games, as was the idea of the ball in motion. He could not think of any game which required a static ball.
 
After circumnavigating the court, he went in turn to both ends of it. He gazed over the net and beyond, trying to see with the eyes of a player. The soft light from an overcast sky filtered down through the leafy chlorophyll. He saw that this ubiquitous greenness faded to black beyond the boundary line at each end of the court. Humanity had once lived out there in the shade. It was a place they had shared with other ferocious mammals. Life was most likely tenuous and short. And so, in an act which raised themselves out of the food chain, they had invented the game of tennis. More accurately, tennis was merely one result in an evolution of ball games over millennia.
 
The ball must always be kept in motion. It was propelled originally by the naked hand, then by a racket, itself an extension of the hand, and harbinger of the industrial era.
 
There were rules, limitations of necessity which reduced the cacophonous complexities of life to a scale that could be managed by humans. The ball, so important to keep aloft, was allowed to bounce once. The bounce had a curious significance. If the purpose of the game was to create a model of life's dynamics, and then to influence or control them, in a way analogous to sympathetic magic, then the bounce might be seen as a flirtation with death. Its inclusion in the rules only made the model more vivid, and the magic more effective. It could be that the purpose of tennis was only for enjoyment, or for keeping fit. There is no reason why these purposes should not all run concurrently. They are not mutually exclusive.
 
As it travelled across the court, bouncing or not, the ball created a waveform, its length being determined by the distance between rackets. He suspected there was a special significance to this, perhaps a way to experience every game that had ever been played. The accumulation of such waveforms in a match would provide a distinctive colophon. He could not know for sure. It was an idea, nothing more.
 
At that point he had sat down on the bench. He did not believe in any of these thoughts. He considered it an arrogant fallacy to assume that one is obligated to believe one's thoughts.  Belief is completely irrelevant.
 
In the woods beyond the court, were trees in the process of falling. Some were already on the ground, dark and rotting. Others leant on their siblings. There was no breeze and no movement, except for a woodpecker furiously tapping nearby.
 
Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, Chris Evert, Andy Murray, Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, Henry VIII, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Gavin Tranent, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova.
 
He recited the names of the tennis players he could recall. All of them were known to the world. These people engaged their bodies in a perpetual struggle with the forces of entropy, for the betterment of humanity. Civilization was not something that could be attained once, and then appreciated for time ever after. It had to be maintained constantly. Winning was not as important as delaying the inevitable.
 
He leaned back on the bench and stretched out his legs, heels down, toes up. His mildly depressing metaphysics had made him thirsty. The crumbling dryness of the court, offered no relief. Nature was reclaiming it, with no concern for him. He thought perhaps that his thirst could be quenched by watching a few games. It would be an opportunity to test the waveform idea. But how to determine amplitude? Would the point of equilibrium be the centre between the ground and the highest position of the ball, or its median height, in any given shot? None of the information was available to him. It was an analogy made from science that landed in the realm of pseudo-science, more use perhaps in art than to him now.
 
If he was to watch a game, he was going to have to think one up himself. He stayed where he was. Nothing but silence and emptiness. He was trying too hard. Not complete silence, because he could hear the sounds of birds and insects, quite clearly, more than before, he realised. The majority of these sounds were the noises of eating, on a huge scale. It was as if the world around him was being devoured.
 
"Advantage Thundrel."
 
The game was already in play and had reached a moment of tension. He was looking to his left and saw the man about to receive the serve. It was Gavin Tranent, standing with legs apart and slightly bent at the knee, nervously twirling his racket with his right hand. At the other end of the court, his opponent was flexing to serve. It was shocking to see Thundrel toss up the ball and drive it over the net with unimaginable force. Unkempt greasy hair flew back from both of his massive heads which towered above the trees behind him. Watching from the bench, he spun around to see how Tranent, who was of normal stature, would survive the serve. Remarkably, gripping the racket with both hands, he returned the ball, causing it to skim just above the net and drop to the ground almost instantly. Thundrel stumbled and lost the point. In this case his two heads appeared to work against him. Both of them had lost the confident, malevolent grins of the moment before, when he had thought the game was his, and were now set in anxious scowls.
 
"Deuce."
 
The ball was already in Tranent's section of the court when he heard the boom, meaning that the projectile had surpassed the speed of sound. With an adroit feint, he suddenly turned an apparent back hand swing to a forehand, sending the ball in an unexpected direction, which perplexed the giant.
 
"Advantage Tranent."
 
Thundrel was now enraged and the sweat was dripping copiously from his brows. It must have been noon, the sky had cleared and the sun was directly overhead, burning off the green light. Tranent, oddly but understandably clothed in body armour, seemed lithe and full of energy.
 
Thundrel flubbed the serve twice. His anger had broken his concentration. His last attempt ripped a hole through the net.
 
"Game, set and match, Gavin Tranent. Two sets to one. Four-six, six-love, six-four."
 
The giant Thundrel turned and smashed his racket on the ground. He was a bad loser, showing no inclination to the honour code of sportsmen, either in victory or defeat, and abruptly strode off into the forest. He plucked up trees as he went and snapped them like matches in his great fists.
There was a ten minute break before the next match. This was to be a bout between Tranent and Ysbaddaden, a giant from Wales. Tranent leaned against a chair which had been brought on to the court for him. An assistant raised his vizor and held a chalice to his lips.
 
When the rest period was over, Tranent made short work of Ysbaddaden, who was old and slow. The afternoon drew on. He defeated three more Welsh Giants and a Scandinavian. His strategy had been the same all day - keep the ball close to the ground and to the bodies of his opponents, causing them to bend, and preventing them from using their full strength in a swing.
 
The ball was sized on a human scale, no doubt to compensate for the vastly superior strength of the giants. To them it would have appeared no larger than a marble or a pea. This was a disadvantage, considering their poor eyesight.
 
Jack-in-Irons appeared to be a formidable foe, all draped in chains and human heads. But he was more image than substance, and Tranent defeated him without much difficulty. By now, as the evening approached he was visibly flagging. It was not surprising, considering his day-long exertions, but the man on the bench could not stop himself from wondering if Tranent derived his almost super-human strength from sunlight.
 
His last adversary of the day, and the seventeenth, was Gogmagog. He was a minor celebrity among tennis-playing giants and made Tranent suffer horribly. For the winning shot in a tie-breaking game, Tranent summoned his remaining vigour and drove the ball as powerfully as he could between the giant's legs, just below his presumably monstrous organs of generation. Gogmagog got tangled up in his own body and was unable to parry.
 
The tournament was over. Most of the giants went away and became mountains. The Welsh ones certainly did. Tranent lay supine and shuddering on the court. His assistants were frantically pouring water into his helmet. He had done his duty for mankind, because after that day, humanity was never again bothered by that alternate and problematic species.
 
He raised himself off the bench with sleeping buttocks. It must be time to pick up his daughter from her dancing class. He left the court and climbed the embankment. Would it be possible to introduce a ball to the game of chess? It could be called Chessball. How would it work? Of course - this might be the perfect opportunity for the first game with a static ball.
 
 
© Tom Newton 2016

POST RECITAL

Talk Icon

TALK

This call is being recorded. If you do not wish to be recorded, please disconnect at this time.
 
TN: Well, we got that over with. Now at least, everybody knows they are being recorded.
 
You might think that a hidden significance to tennis is a far-flung idea, and you might be right. But if you desire meaning, you can find it anywhere you look. The black cat which just crossed your path from the left, could spell trouble. But what is the meaning of a black cat, or the left?
 
A run-down tennis court in the woods got me thinking about the game. I learned of a book – The Turke and Gowin, in which Sir Gawain plays tennis with seventeen giants. The only known copy is in The British Library as part of the Percy Folio, a seventeenth century compilation of earlier work, and I haven't read it but it was grist for the imagination. If tennis had entered the realm of myth, something unapparent must be going on.
 
Sir Gawain, as Gavin Tranent, slips into the story among a list of notable players. There's an ancient town in East Lothian, Scotland called Tranent. Sir Gawain was associated with that area, so it seemed to be a suitable last name for his modern incarnation. I changed the pronunciation to make it sound more contemporary, at least to my ears.
 
Games might well have esoteric meanings. A branch of Mathematics is concerned with them. Brent and I discussed it at length. He thinks I'm out of my mind, and I feel the same way about him. So our craziness was cancelled out and we came up with a plan. We'd conduct a poll to discover what people think about the arcane meaning of tennis. This isn't a scientifically conducted poll. We're not after truth, not that we'd get it anyway. We just want to know what people feel they think, or think they feel. We talked to a few people - on the phone, in the studio. We got the phone numbers from a list that someone sold us. This is what we learned:
 
Phone rings....
 
  -    Helo?”
 
TN: Hello. I'm conducting a poll for The Strange Recital podcast. What is your opinion about the deeper significance of the game of tennis?
 
  -  Fel Cymro, yr unig gêm am fod fi’n gwybod unrhyw beth yw rygbi. Felly, mae’n ofn i mi ond nad oes modd i ateb eich cwestiwn am tennis achos mae gen i ddim farn o gwbwl ar y pwnc hwn.
 
(As a Welshman, the only game I know anything about is rugby. So, I’m sorry but I’m unable to answer your question on tennis because I have no opinion at all on that subject.)
 
TN: I see. Well, thank you for your time.
 
  -   Dim problem -  hwyl fawr I chi.
 
(No problem – goodbye to you.)
 
TN: Hmm. Interesting.
 

 

BR: What would you say is the hidden significance of the game of tennis?
 
-    Well tennis seems to be a very civilized way of working things out. So much better than going to war. But I can see that it allows us to be very expressive and push ourselves, and have a sense of fun and seriousness at the same time, because we really want to win.
 
BR: All right, thanks.
 
Phone rings...
 
-  Hello?
 
BR: What would you say is the hidden significance in tennis?
 
  ‒  Those short skirts. I think it's a pretty hot costume.
 
BR: Thank you.
 
  ‒  You're welcome.
 
Phone rings...
 
  -  I'm sorry but the person you've called is not available. Please leave your message after the tone. After you've finished your message...
 
Phone rings...
 
 Hello?
 
TN: Hello. I'm conducting a poll for The Strange Recital. I wonder if you could give me your opinion about the deeper significance of tennis?
 
  Fuck off.
 
TN: Well thank you.
 
 
TN: What would you say is the deeper significance to the game of tennis, if indeed there is one?
 
-    I don't know. Do you know? I don't know.
 
TN:  Well I don't know. That's why I'm asking you, because I thought you might know.
 
-    Hmm. Your question is: “Who can play tennis without me?”
 
TN: Giants?
 
-    No! Just kids and mamas.
 
TN: Okay. Thank you.
 
 
BR: Tell me what you think is the metaphorical meaning of the game of tennis.
 
-  The deeper meaning of tennis. Having ten 'isses'.
 
BR: Yeah, thank you.
 
 
TN: Hi, I'm interested in your opinion on the significance of tennis. I'm talking about something more profound and arcane than entertainment and exercise. The hidden significance of tennis. What do you think?
 
-  Funny you should ask me that because I really love tennis. It's a Zen exercise that you do in motion. There's this whole science and art to tennis but ultimately performance, especially once you reach a certain standard of performance, really comes down to the moment of impact. It's all about being present at the moment of impact. Everything you do before and after, controls that moment of impact. And how you are present to the moment, determines your success as a tennis player.
 
TN: Thank you. That's quite an answer. More satisfying than you might imagine. Yeah.
 
 
TN: What would you say is the hidden significance, or meaning, to the game of tennis?
 
-  Tennis, where love means nothing.
 

***

 
BR: So, what do you think, did all these responses satisfy you that there is actually a meaning behind tennis?
 
TN: Absolutely. The comments are varied but I think they prove that there's obviously a significance, a meta-meaning to the game which people pick up on, from the clothing to the struggle...
 
BR: Hmm.
 
TN: That guy who hung up on me with an expletive – he knew more than he wanted to let on. I think we may have accidentally stumbled upon one of the Illuminati, that's the beauty of chance.
 
BR: Yeah, I don't know.
 
TN: And look. Andy Murray just got knighted. You see what I'm talking about?
 
BR: Actually no I don't. I don't really think this proves anything.
 
TN: You don't?
 
BR: No, not at all.
 
TN: Let's step away from the mic.
 
BR: All right. You're on...
 
The sound of tennis being played.
 

*

 

Our thanks to all of the anonymous participants in this unscientific poll.

This call is being recorded. If you do not wish to be recorded, please disconnect at this time.
 
TN: Well, we got that over with. Now at least, everybody knows they are being recorded.
 
You might think that a hidden significance to tennis is a far-flung idea, and you might be right. But if you desire meaning, you can find it anywhere you look. The black cat which just crossed your path from the left, could spell trouble. But what is the meaning of a black cat, or the left?
 
A run-down tennis court in the woods got me thinking about the game. I learned of a book – The Turke and Gowin, in which Sir Gawain plays tennis with seventeen giants. The only known copy is in The British Library as part of the Percy Folio, a seventeenth century compilation of earlier work, and I haven't read it but it was grist for the imagination. If tennis had entered the realm of myth, something unapparent must be going on.
 
Sir Gawain, as Gavin Tranent, slips into the story among a list of notable players. There's an ancient town in East Lothian, Scotland called Tranent. Sir Gawain was associated with that area, so it seemed to be a suitable last name for his modern incarnation. I changed the pronunciation to make it sound more contemporary, at least to my ears.
 
Games might well have esoteric meanings. A branch of Mathematics is concerned with them. Brent and I discussed it at length. He thinks I'm out of my mind, and I feel the same way about him. So our craziness was cancelled out and we came up with a plan. We'd conduct a poll to discover what people think about the arcane meaning of tennis. This isn't a scientifically conducted poll. We're not after truth, not that we'd get it anyway. We just want to know what people feel they think, or think they feel. We talked to a few people - on the phone, in the studio. We got the phone numbers from a list that someone sold us. This is what we learned:
 
Phone rings....
 
  -    Helo?”
 
TN: Hello. I'm conducting a poll for The Strange Recital podcast. What is your opinion about the deeper significance of the game of tennis?
 
  -  Fel Cymro, yr unig gêm am fod fi’n gwybod unrhyw beth yw rygbi. Felly, mae’n ofn i mi ond nad oes modd i ateb eich cwestiwn am tennis achos mae gen i ddim farn o gwbwl ar y pwnc hwn.
 
(As a Welshman, the only game I know anything about is rugby. So, I’m sorry but I’m unable to answer your question on tennis because I have no opinion at all on that subject.)
 
TN: I see. Well, thank you for your time.
 
  -   Dim problem -  hwyl fawr I chi.
 
(No problem – goodbye to you.)
 
TN: Hmm. Interesting.

 

 
BR: What would you say is the hidden significance of the game of tennis?
 
-    Well tennis seems to be a very civilized way of working things out. So much better than going to war. But I can see that it allows us to be very expressive and push ourselves, and have a sense of fun and seriousness at the same time, because we really want to win.
 
BR: All right, thanks.
 
Phone rings...
 
-  Hello?
 
BR: What would you say is the hidden significance in tennis?
 
  ‒  Those short skirts. I think it's a pretty hot costume.
 
BR: Thank you.
 
  ‒  You're welcome.
 
Phone rings...
 
  -  I'm sorry but the person you've called is not available. Please leave your message after the tone. After you've finished your message...
 
Phone rings...
 
Hello?
 
TN: Hello. I'm conducting a poll for The Strange Recital. I wonder if you could give me your opinion about the deeper significance of tennis?
 
  Fuck off.
 
TN: Well thank you.
 
 
TN: What would you say is the deeper significance to the game of tennis, if indeed there is one?
 
-    I don't know. Do you know? I don't know.
 
TN:  Well I don't know. That's why I'm asking you, because I thought you might know.
 
-    Hmm. Your question is: “Who can play tennis without me?”
 
TN: Giants?
 
-    No! Just kids and mamas.
 
TN: Okay. Thank you.
 
 
BR: Tell me what you think is the metaphorical meaning of the game of tennis.
 
-  The deeper meaning of tennis. Having ten 'isses'.
 
BR: Yeah, thank you.
 
 
TN: Hi, I'm interested in your opinion on the significance of tennis. I'm talking about something more profound and arcane than entertainment and exercise. The hidden significance of tennis. What do you think?
 
-  Funny you should ask me that because I really love tennis. It's a Zen exercise that you do in motion. There's this whole science and art to tennis but ultimately performance, especially once you reach a certain standard of performance, really comes down to the moment of impact. It's all about being present at the moment of impact. Everything you do before and after, controls that moment of impact. And how you are present to the moment, determines your success as a tennis player.
 
TN: Thank you. That's quite an answer. More satisfying than you might imagine. Yeah.
 
 
TN: What would you say is the hidden significance, or meaning, to the game of tennis?
 
-  Tennis, where love means nothing.
 

***

 
BR: So, what do you think, did all these responses satisfy you that there is actually a meaning behind tennis?
 
TN: Absolutely. The comments are varied but I think they prove that there's obviously a significance, a meta-meaning to the game which people pick up on, from the clothing to the struggle...
 
BR: Hmm.
 
TN: That guy who hung up on me with an expletive – he knew more than he wanted to let on. I think we may have accidentally stumbled upon one of the Illuminati, that's the beauty of chance.
 
BR: Yeah, I don't know.
 
TN: And look. Andy Murray just got knighted. You see what I'm talking about?
 
BR: Actually no I don't. I don't really think this proves anything.
 
TN: You don't?
 
BR: No, not at all.
 
TN: Let's step away from the mic.
 
BR: All right. You're on...
 
The sound of tennis being played.
 

*

 

Our thanks to all of the anonymous participants in this unscientific poll.

Music by xj5000

The tennis sounds were recorded by Beman87 at the Roland-Garros Monfils vs. Ferrer match at the Central Court in Paris in 2008 and used here under the CC by 3.0 License. Some pitch changes were made.

THE STRANGE RECITAL

Episode 17021

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