exploring the world of tennis . . .     

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Welcome to On The Line!

This website explores the multi-faceted world of tennis. You will find a wealth of material ranging from light-hearted satire to motivational coaching tips, from eyebrow-raising quotes to controversial comment, from challenging quiz questions to droll humour.

The site presents topics as wide-ranging as the introduction of electronic line-calling systems, match-rigging, Andre Agassi's legacy, the demise of serve-and-volley and the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

Our popular catalogue of quotes is expanding all the time - if you have javascript enabled, pick one at random by clicking on the quotation marks below!

You will find well over a hundred practical pointers and tips to help you develop your own game. There are also interactive quizzes and games to help you while away a leisurely hour or two.

Over time, new articles and material will be added. You are encouraged to voice your reaction to the articles you read in the Talking Points area.

Recent talking points . . .

How to be better at tennis and poker

Online games such as poker can improve the hand-eye coordination, concentration levels and decision making skills needed to be successful in tennis. Your mental acuity can mean the difference between a win and a disheartening loss when your body is tired and about to give in to fatigue.

The gravy train is leaving. Mind the gap!

Have you noticed that tennis now disappears off the radar for a whole month between Wimbledon and the second week of August when the Canada Masters starts? The annual tennis calendar is now effectively reconfigured as two separate seasons.

LTA elicits parliamentary pique

Gerry Sutcliffe, the sports minister, has asked an all-party Parliamentary Tennis Group to investigate the LTA's activities and if he doesn't like what he reads in their report, he will consider the possibility of cutting future funding for British tennis.

Absorb Davis Cup into the Olympics!

It is time to consign the Davis Cup to the dust heap of history. But from those ashes, I believe the phoenix could rise in the form of a compelling Olympic tennis team event.

Fodder for the media feeding frenzy

There are no hiding places for top sports stars these days. Any indiscretion is like a piece of steak dropped into the piranha tank of tabloid scrutiny. Andre Agassi, golfer Tiger Woods and Chelsea footballer John Terry are just three sporting luminaries who have fallen victim to those razor-sharp teeth in recent months.

The greatest hoax of all time?

You may have heard that the United States Tennis Association (USTA) was supplied with renewable energy certificates (RECs) to match its electricity consumption during the 2009 US Open. By buying verified RECs, the USTA made a bold statement about its commitment to the cause of environment-friendly renewable electricity generation. But could it be that they, along with many other businesses and individuals, are guilty of being a shade disingenuous about this supposed investment?

Getting too close to the players?

We have pre-match interviews right before the players step out on court (can you smell any nervousness)? We have post-match interviews conducted courtside while the emotion is still raw and the conditions are perfect for an unguarded remark or two (will they say something stupid?). Are we getting too close to the players?

Retractable roof, retractable agreement?

Can the LTA be trusted to nurture the development of tennis in Britain these days? Having unveiled the new retractable roof over Centre Court, perhaps the AELTC should take retractability a step further and make funding conditional on the LTA achieving targets in all aspects of the game's development nationally.

Is WADA in violation of the Fourth Amendment?

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) may not be strictly bound by the text of the Fourth Amendment but it should probably avoid blatantly flouting the spirit of its wisdom.

No guarantees!

Because players are allowed to accept undisclosed guarantees from tournament organisers and because the ranking system allows certain results to be discounted, the competitive structure of the professional game has been undermined. It has become open to abuse by unscrupulous elements. Tennis's newly formed Integrity Unit would do well to address the issue of appearance money as urgently as possible.

More . . .

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Website author: Dave Winship

Other websites by this author:

The Speed Of Dark Blog
The Speed Of Dark Blog

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Real time coverage of ATP/WTA matches . . .

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Coach's Cave


Is your backhand out of sorts? Is your serve looking run-down and in need of a tonic? Enter Coach's Cave where you can click on questions previous explorers left behind! Take a torch and a racket!

Laughter Labyrinth



Funny snips of conversation from Upper Gummtrey Tennis Club. Here's a short sample:

Stuart: We're in a spot of bother here, Jez.
Jez: Do you think they've cottoned on to our signals?
Stuart: Oh yes.
Jez: So they know exactly where I'm going to serve?
Stuart: Oh yes. But it's worse than that.
Jez: Worse?
Stuart: They couldn't care less where you serve.

Junk shots:

A quirky and satirical view of the world of tennis.

Off The Frame:

It goes where no other tennis story has ever gone before - sideways. It's half story, half parody, and half something else entirely. One reviewer described it as "an enthralling juxtaposition of the sublime and the mundane", but we didn't understand a word of it, so we commissioned another reviewer, who said it was "definitely the product of an addled brain". Frankly, we won't be asking her to review anything again. We think it's just a sketchy story interspersed with a few corny gags, but you'll just have to make up your own minds!

You'll find more in the same vein in the Laughter Labyrinth. We hope you find a way out.

Featured Tip

Venus Williams

I often get asked what's best - an open stance or a closed stance. And of course there isn't a definitive answer. You can argue the merits and demerits of each until the cows come home. Open-stance players tend to flourish on slower courts where baseline rallies are the order of the day. On courts where the ball bounces lower and there is a premium on getting in to the net, players who step in to their shots with a closed (sideways-on) stance are better equipped to create linear momentum and execute approach shots. Ultimately, it comes down to your own athletic and tactical preferences.

Open-stance players can use powerful trunk rotation and produce great racket-head speed, but they find that their centre of gravity pulls to the left (or even backwards) during the stroke, discouraging forward movement. The open-stance technique also enables players to execute hurried shots.

The step-in forehand, on the other hand, imposes a limit on your swing because your front leg locks up your body, but it encourages forward transfer of weight and therefore favours players who want to close in on the net. By taking the ball on the rise, players who use this technique can cut out the opponent's reaction time and apply pressure by approaching the net. This can be just as devastating as a booming open-stance forehand, especially on fast surfaces.

One word of caution. Open-stance is a bit of a misnomer. It refers to your feet. It does NOT mean having your shoulders parallel to the net! If you use an open-stance forehand, you must coil and then uncoil your hips and shoulders, otherwise there is no benefit to it whatsoever.



Who is this? It's just one question in the latest quiz. It's not too difficult. We refuse to be impressed unless you score more than 7!

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