exploring the world of tennis . . .     

Collection 1
Dave, the stringer, picks up Jez's racket.
Dave: My God! Look at the state of these strings! They've got more fur than my cat!
Jez: Don't cut them out! They've got sentimental value. Those strings are part of me.
Dave: Look, Jez, I'll replace them for half price. They're useless! [snips one of the strings]
Jez: NO!!
Dave: [snips another string] It's for your own good.
Jez: Dave, stop. Stop, will you? Will you stop, Dave? I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. [Breaks into song as Dave snips more strings] Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do.
Jez tells Tracey about the match he played earlier in the day.
Jez: In the first set I had one of those rare moments when everything just fell into place. All my serves went in. I didn't miss a ball. I was on autopilot.
Tracey: Spooky! So what happened?
Jez: I crashed!
Outside the clubhouse
Jez: Bill, I've got some good news and some not-so-good news.
Bill: Give me the good news first.
Jez: Well, the selection committee asked me to speak to you. [Claps Bill on the shoulder] They've decided to give you one more chance in the third team.
Bill: Great! So what's the not-so-good news?
Jez: The match was yesterday.
A post-match post-mortem in the clubhouse
Neil: Another miserable failure!
Stuart: I enjoyed it. It's not a failure if you try your best and enjoy it. What do you think, Jez?
Jez: Well, I was just wondering: if I try to fail, and succeed, which have I done?
Match practice
Neil: This is appalling! Everyone's playing crap! We've got to improve on this performance. You're not going, Jez?
Jez: [throws bag over shoulder] Yep. Chaos, panic, and disorder - mission accomplished!
Tracey relaxing on the patio with her dog
Tracey: Gill, watch what he does when Jez wins a point!
[The dog stands on its hind legs and does a high-five with Tracey]
Gill: That's fantastic! What does he do if he wins a whole match?
Tracey: No idea. We've only had the dog for two years.
Jez and Neil are walking off court together
Neil: Hey Jez, I've got a riddle for you!
Jez: Go on.
Neil: [stops outside the clubhouse] A man and a woman had a child. The child was not my sister or my brother, but the man was my father and the woman was my mother. Who was the child?
Jez: It wasn't your brother or sister? I give up. Who was it?
Neil: It was me, of course!
Jez: I like that. I'll try it on Tracey right now! [marches into the clubhouse] Tracey, here's a riddle for you! A man and a woman had a child. The child was not my sister or my brother, but the man was my father and the woman was my mother. Who was the child?
Tracey: That's impossible. Who was it?
Jez: It was Neil!
Tracey and Gill watching a men's match from the clubhouse
Jez: [outside on court] Yes, come on! Great netcord! Oh, revenge is sweet!
Gill: [looking bored] Four hours is a long time to be stuck here watching this!
Jez: Oh God! Any fool could have got that! Somebody shoot me!
Gill: [nose pressed against the glass] Four hours! They wouldn't do it for us.
Jez: How the hell did I miss that? Hello?!!! Is this a racket I see before me??!!
Tracey: [turns to Gill] Be fair. Where else would you see Shakespeare performed over four hours with tennis rackets?
Outside the clubhouse during a men's match
Stuart: What are we going to do about that guy's serve, Jez?
Jez: Well, ...
Neil: [fencing with his racket] Give it the old chip 'n' charge! By the way, have any of you tried that Napster web site?
Dan: That's where you exchange music files with other guys, right? Yeh, it's cool!
Sidney: But you're not really exchanging. You're sharing. It's copyright piracy!
Stuart: I agree. Musicians and artists are being ripped off!
Dan: [shakes his head] Nah! That's what the internet was meant to be all about. Free access to everything! Whaddya reckon, Jez?
Jez: I don't think chip and charge will make any difference.
Jez and Stuart strolling on to court
Stuart: You and Tracey have been living together for a year now. How's it going?
Jez: We're fine now. Things got better when we got rid of the water bed.
Stuart: What was the problem?
Jez: We started drifting apart.
Players relaxing during Finals Day
Tracey: [takes a small pizza out of the microwave] Jez, your pizza is ready. I'll cut it for you. Four slices, or eight?
Jez: Better make it four. I'm on a diet and I'm determined to eat half as many slices as I usually do.
Jez wins a set point with a netcord, hurdles the net, catches his foot and falls in a heap on the court
Jez: Aargh!
Dan: Are you all right?
Jez: Oh God. [prods himself all over] Aargh! Aaaargh! It hurts when I touch my legs. It hurts when I touch my neck. It hurts when I touch my back. Aargh! It hurts when I touch anywhere! This must be serious. What does it mean?
Dan: It means you've bruised your finger.
Checking the nets before a match
Stuart: What are Henman's chances tomorrow? Don't sit on the fence like you usually do. What do you think?
Jez I don't sit on the fence.
Stuart: Well, all right. What are his chances then?
Jez: Quite categorically, I'd say fifty-fifty.
Watching the rain from the clubhouse
Jez: Depressing, isn't it?
Brian: Oh, I don't know. It's only rained twice this week.
Jez: Yeh. Once for three days, and the second time for four!
Brian: Listen, Jez. I need fund-raising ideas. Have you ever done any abseiling?
Jez: Yeh, count me in - I abseiled across the channel once.
Tracey walks into the clubhouse
Tracey: Are there any chocolate muesli bars left?
Jez: [brushes crumbs off his shirt] There was one left and I knew you'd be happy if I saved it for you . . .
Tracey: You saved it for me?
Jez: . . . but I figured there was something that would make you even happier. You see, you and I have got to play Mike and Gill in a minute and I know you'd be unbelievably happy if we won . . .
Tracey: You ate it?
Jez: . . . and obviously I'd serve better if I boosted my energy levels . . .
Tracey: You ate it, didn't you?
Jez: . . . so I ate it. Just to make you happy. You are happy, aren't you?
A few players relaxing in the clubhouse
Jez: Coffee, Mandy?
Mandy: Better not. Scientists have warned against drinking coffee when you're pregnant.
Jez: [stirring his coffee] Yeh, but playing tennis is also bad for you. Scientists have concluded that half of all children who play tennis score below average on standardized tests. It's also a scientific fact that over 99% of tennis players drink water in some form or other and more than 95 percent of violent crimes are committed within hours of drinking water. Furthermore, . . . Ow! What's that for?
Mandy: [as Jez mops coffee from his shirt] It's a scientific fact that people who take the mick out of me suffer an accident within seconds!
Jez is in the clubhouse getting ready for a match
Brian: I've noticed you always put the black sock on your left foot and the white sock on your right foot. Why?
Jez: Actually, I only do it that way round on match days. It's a kind of superstition really.
Brian: Well, what do you think would happen if you put them on the other way round?
Jez: Er . . . we'd lose, I guess.
Brian: What? When was the last time you won?
[Ten minutes later, the rest of the team are waiting for Jez on court]
Dan: Where the hell is Jez? We should have started ages ago! I'll go and see if he's in the clubhouse.
Stuart: [finds Jez in the clubhouse, holding a sock in each hand] Jez, what are you doing? We should have started ten minutes ago and you haven't even got your socks on!
During a ladies match
Mike: Did you hear? The ladies from North Hendred have complained about the cows in the field at the back.
Dan: Yeh. I don't know what they expect us to do about it.
Mike: Jez is really winding them up. He's told them they've got mad cows disease.
Dan: Where is Jez?
Jez: [from behind a tree in the field] Moooooooooooo! Moo! Moo! Moo! Mooohaaaaaargh! Moooohahahehehoho! Moo. Moo. Moooo!
Jez and Stuart are losing heavily to Mike and Bill as dusk approaches
Jez: Shall we finish there? It's getting dark.
Mike: We've got plenty of time to finish the set!
Jez: But I can't see the ball!
Stuart: Come on, Jez. We'll turn this set around. We don't need to make excuses.
Mike: [laughing as Jez's serve lands on the next court] What was that?
Jez: See, I told you.
Mike: Don't tell me you can't even see to serve!
Jez: Um . . . I was bitten by a bat?
A post-match post-mortem in the clubhouse
Neil: [head in hands] Another thrashing! Why are we so bad?
Stuart: Three things. We've got no confidence, we never anticipate anything and we never have a plan.
Jez: Nonsense. [slings bag over shoulder] I was confident they were going to beat us by half past two, and I've ordered a taxi to get us to the pub before last orders!
Mixed doubles on a Sunday afternoon. The players in conversation during a changeover
Mike: Cheer up, Jez! Why the long face?
Jez: Tracey and I never beat you! And we're losing! Again!
Gill: Oh, it's only a game! We're enjoying good healthy exercise in the fresh air. We're privileged to be able to do this!
Mike: That's right. Doesn't matter about the result. It's fun and it's sociable!
Jez: Well, if you both really believe that . . .
Both: We do.
Jez: . . . and you don't care who wins? . . .
Both: We don't. Really.
Jez: . . . then for God's sake, let us win!
Jez, Tracey and Gill are relaxing in the clubhouse
Tracey: Happy anniversary, Gill! Y'know, it only seems like yesterday that Mike proposed to you.
Gill: [sighs] Oh yes. I was so overwhelmed, I was speechless for an hour!
Jez: Yep, I'll bet it was the happiest hour of his life!
Dan walks into the clubhouse
Dan: I found a pound on the court. Anyone dropped it?
Jez: It's mine! A pound coin fell out of my pocket and I forgot to pick it up.
Dan: But it's two fifty pence pieces!
Jez: Ah. Well, I thought I heard it break when it hit the ground.
Jez and Stuart are a set and 0-4 down in a league match
Jez: Y'know, it's times like this - when a match is slipping away from you and your 'A' game just isn't working - that it really pays to listen to your coach.
Stuart: Why? What does he say?
Jez: I don't know. I never take any notice.
Players chatting in the clubhouse
Bill: I hear Jez has bought a stringing machine.
Mike: [reads Jez's poster on the notice board] Yes. He's offering three types of service - cheap, quick and good. It says here you can combine any two.
Bill: Sounds okay. So, you can have quick and good . . .
Mike: . . . won't be cheap!
Bill: Cheap and good . . .?
Mike: . . . won't be quick!
Bill: . . . or cheap and quick.
Mike: Won't be good!
A game of club doubles gets a bit heated.
Steve: Jez! Stop arguing and throwing your racket! There's nothing clever about it. We can all behave like brats, you know.
Jez: Okay, go on then.
[Steve throws up his hands in exasperation]
Jez: See? It's not so easy, is it?
Bill is helping out with the junior coaching.
Nathan: Hey Bill, can you help us with our homework?
Bill: Er, of course.
Nathan: Okay, thanks. It's about explorers. [He winks at the other kids]
Bill: Ask me anything.
Nathan: Captain Scott led two expeditions to the South Pole and died during one of them. Which one?
Bill: [looks perplexed, thinks for a while, then shrugs his shoulders] I wish I'd paid more attention in school.
Jez and Stuart are playing in a tournament doubles match.
Umpire: The ball was good. Please play on, Mr Bell. Remember, you've already had a warning.
Jez: Will you penalise me if I tell you what I think of you?
Umpire: Yes, that would be verbal abuse.
Jez: What if I just think it? Can I do that?
Umpire: Of course you can.
Jez: Well, I think you're crap!
Umpire: Warning for verbal abuse - point penalty!
Jez: What? [turns to Stuart with a look of exasperation] Umpires - you just can't trust 'em!
Jez is slumped in a chair in the clubhouse.
Jez: I'm playing worse and worse every day. And today I played like tomorrow. What do I have to do to win a match?
Dan: Get some coaching. Improve your technique.
Steve: Watch some pro tennis. Learn how the champions do it.
Stuart: Go down the gym and work out regularly.
Jez: No, it's not a lack of skill or a lack of knowledge or a lack of fitness.
Dan: So what is it?
Jez: It's a lack of points.
Jez is discussing his trip to Egypt with Pauline.
Jez: You know I've been worrying about airsickness on the flight to Egypt?
Pauline: Yes.
Jez: And carsickness on the way to the airport? And seasickness on the Nile trip?
Pauline: Yes. I remember you saying.
Jez: I've hit on a cure for all three!
Pauline: Really?
Jez: I'm going to stay at home.
Jez is discussing his travel plans with Mike and Pauline.
Jez: Pauline, you've been to Egypt before, haven't you? Tell me, will I need any injections before I go?
Pauline: Yes, you need a few. I was okay, except I picked up a tickly cough and a bit of a temperature. A summer cold. Mind you, they can be worse than winter colds, you know.
Jez: I know. I had one at Christmas.
Pauline: Huh?
Jez: I suppose I should use a mosquito net?
Pauline: My doctor said it was the rhinovirus.
Jez: Oh my god! What do I do if I find a rhino in my bed?
Mike: Sleep somewhere else?
Mike returns to the club after dropping off Jez at the airport.
Pauline: Hello Mike. Did Jez get on his flight okay? He was very nervous about it, wasn't he? I told him flying is statistically safer than driving.
Mike: We had a bit of a problem with him, but he's airborne now.
Pauline: What sort of problem?
Mike: He demanded to sit in the black box.
Jez is partnering Gill in a mixed doubles.
Gill: Why do you keep serving the ball into the net? You don't learn from your mistakes, do you?
Jez: Sure I do. I can repeat them perfectly.
Gill: You should watch how the top players do it.
Jez: Well, I was going to watch one of Agassi's matches once. But I thought - why should I? He never watches any of mine.
A theological argument threatens the peace of the clubhouse.
Gill: But surely you believe in life after death, don't you?
Dan: Nah. This is it. There's no afterlife. What do you think, Jez?
Jez: Well, I'm going to take a change of clothes and a toothbrush just in case.
A top national coach arrives at the club to open the new clubhouse.
Jez: I hear you do restringing and racket repairs and everything as well as coaching?
Coach: That's right. I was one of the official stringers at Wimbledon a few years back.
Jez: [pulling a badly battered racket out of his bag] Can you do anything with this?
Coach: Absolutely not. 'Fraid it's completely useless.
Jez: [shrugs] Oh well. Hey, will you take a look at my backhand?
[The coach watches Jez hit a few backhands against the practice wall]
Jez: So, how would you transform it into a stylish, more reliable stroke?
Coach: Let's have another look at that racket.
Jez and Stuart trudge off court after an ignominious defeat.
Stuart: 6-0 6-0! I can hardly believe it!
Jez: It can't get any worse, can it?
Stuart: No. It was a whitewash.
Jez: I wouldn't go that far, but it's disappointing.
Stuart: Huh?
[Mike bounds out of the clubhouse towards them]
Mike: Quick, put those rackets away!
Jez: Why?
Mike: Do you want Wilson and Prince to sue for defamation?
The club coach, Tim, is feeding balls to Jez's backhand.
Tim: [as Jez swings and completely misses the ball] Watch the ball!
Jez: I did watch it.
Tim: Try once more. [Jez misses again] Are you sure you were watching the ball?
Jez: It was a Slazenger XL with a brown smudge just below the logo. The flight was almost a simple parabola, but the backspin made it rise gradually at first before bringing it down fairly quickly after it reached its peak. I was watching the ball, okay? That's not the problem.
Tim: So what's the problem?
Jez: I can't hit it.
Jez strikes his name from the list of players signed up for extra coaching sessions.
Tim: What's up Jez? I thought you wanted all the coaching you could get.
Jez: I think I'm suffering from information overload.
Tim: Why?
Jez: I'm just not sure my brain can take in anything else at the moment. Every time I learn something, I forget something. My brain's like that useless ball hopper of yours - every time you squeeze one in, another one squeezes out.
Tim: Why do you say that?
Jez: You remember that strategy we thought out for my match against Steve this morning? Like hitting pace and then mixing in some junk to upset his rhythm and everything?
Tim: Oh yeh. What happened? Did it work?
Jez: I forgot to bring my racket.
Jez and Stuart are trailing 0-5 to a pair of beginners in the first round of the club tournament.
Stuart: [sitting down at the changeover] Well, I guess we've got two options. Either we panic, or we review the situation calmly and come up with a rational game plan - building on our strengths and exploiting their weaknesses.
Jez: [repeatedly thumping his bag with his racket] Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!
Stuart: What are you doing?
Jez: I went for option one.
Jez and Stuart traipse off court after a surprising loss to a pair of juniors.
Stuart: Well, it seems we underestimated them.
Jez: No, that's not the way it was at all! They were just better than we expected.


© 2001-5 Dave Winship