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TENNIS JARGON

BY HELEN CROOK
Just like any other community the world of pro tennis has its own jargon that some outsiders may not understand.

Much of the tennis glossary has filtered down to club tennis but in common with many languages, some words have changed or even reinvented themselves as they have travelled across the globe.

Take for example a particular favourite of mine, the traditional English warm -up term, "knock up." Try using this in the States and see if you don't get a slap, especially if the person you're asking for one doesn't fancy you!

As tennis becomes more popular and TV commentators share the knowledge, we should find these terms slipping more into everyday usage and perhaps even making it into dictionary definitions. How many of these are familiar to you already?

If you are "choking" on a tennis court, save the Heimlich manoeuvre. Although someone rushing on the court to help would be a welcome distraction to a choking player, since it simply means you're so nervous that you can't play your shots properly and close out the match. This is painful to watch from the sidelines and worse to be a victim as it is so obviously mental. Why can't you now hit a forehand in? There is no physical reason for this loss of technique as Jeff Tarango noted when he said "the only thing you can lose overnight is your virginity." Not your forehand.

Speaking of virginity, did you know that there are "hookers" on the circuit? More startling is that they are usually found more on the junior circuit. Relax though, a hooker is just a cheat not a woman of the night. It is someone who will call the ball how they want it to be regardless of where it lands!

Also if the ball you hit is pronounced "back" it is bad news for you as it is long. Out, but not wide. It is simply back a bit like Arnie Schwarzenegger promises to be.

Now let's get down to styles of play and a well known term in the English language. A computer hacker is seen to be aggressive, breaking codes and conquering systems, which is in stark contrast to a tennis "hacker" who is about as aggressive as jelly. Many players fear this type of opponent who will happily run around all day playing safe shots waiting for you to make the mistake as you get more and more frustrated. Calling them a hacker however, is certainly politer than the other 6-letter option.

Especiallly for the Army boys and girls we have "tanking." It sounds aggressive in nature like a chieftan, but is actually completely defeatist. Tanking describes a player who is not trying or deliberately losing. Reasons for this are usually irrational, but sometimes it is part of a plot to catch a plane without sacrificing money or computer points. To use another tennis term, a tanker has "bagged it" and has no further interest in winning. Although, sometimes players tank a set or a game in response to a bad call, but then resume normal effort.

Tanking quite rightly, is actually against the rules. Yet I once saw a French player tank a whole match from the 2nd game, on a show court. She deliberately hit one return over the fence and still avoided a fine.
When a player is truly tanking then, there is a good chance that they could be biked or to use the American term, bageled. This is of course symbolic of two round circles meaning 0 & 0. I remember being sausaged and egged at my first junior tournament - you can probably work out what the score was there.

Another way to earn a 6-0, 6-0 victory, is by playing out of your tree. I can't find any symbolism here unless monkeys played the sport (incredibly well) originally perhaps?

So monkey or not, next time you play have a good knock up, don't choke on any bagels, hack if you have to, resist the tank and play out of your tree! And if you are too tired do some biking, go dish out the sausage and egg instead!.

For more information on Helen, visit her website at: www.gbtennisgirls.com
 

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Yet I once saw a French player tank a whole match from the 2nd game, on a show court. She deliberately hit one return over the fence and still avoided a fine.

do anyone know who she is?
 

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NIIIIICE!!!!! that puts a new prospective on tennis :p
 

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paul_masterton said:
.. as Jeff Tarango noted when he said "the only thing you can lose overnight is your virginity." Not your forehand.

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LOL :D

Thanks a lot Paul !
 
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