Serve This! Tennis Enthusiasts Have Their Stage

Tennis, anyone?

For much of the Harvard community the answer would be a resounding yes. The "sport for a lifetime" is one of the most popular recreational sports at Harvard, and certainly not without reason.

"Tennis is such a unique sport," junior Josh Bloom said, taking a break from hitting at the Quad tennis courts. "There's so much involved mentally and physically."

Of course, few recreational players at Harvard can claim to meet all the mental and physical demands of tennis, but the sport tolerates everyone's participation.

Therein lies the greatest beauty of tennis--its tolerance. All players, from the most talented pros to the weekend hackers, can call themselves tennis players and the sport will accept them.

Recreational tennis takes on many forms at Harvard. For many the tennis courts across the river and at the QRAC are the arena of intra-room-mate rivalries. While the shots may not bring forth images of a McEnroeLendl battle to a casual observer, the intensity is very real.

"There's definitely a lot of ego involved," Bloom said, with a nod of agreement from roommate and hitting partner Geoff Criqui.

"We may disagree on calls once in a while," Criqui said. "But I don't think we ever really yell at each other."

Other use their court-time for less competitive purposes, choosing instead to unwind after a tough day by admiring the physical beauty of the game.

"It's nice to talk while you're hitting," junior Scott Kerr said after an hour on-court with Kendall Huffhines '94.

"The feeling you get when you hit a perfect forehand is a great way to get out tension," Huffhines said.

Unfortunately, for most Harvard students the chance to experience the instantaneous union of fluorescent felt and synthetic string comes far too infrequently.

"We don't get to play as much as we'd like to," Bloom and Criqui said.

Criqui, who hails from San Diego, where the tennis gods are more than generous with favorable weather, used to play year-round before he arrived at Harvard.

But whereas Harvard can provide its students with immense amounts of resources, a core curriculum unmatched in the Ivy League and professors that other schools cover, it often fails to provide enough fair-weather days for students to experience the joys of tennis.