Tennis but not as you know it

Published February 19, 2019

Tennis balls and racquet in front of net

A couple of weeks ago, BTSport’s tennis coverage switched to the latest rounds of the Fed Cup - the self-styled World Cup of tennis wherein players team up according to their country and battle it out to win the tournament and be best across the globe.

The British team were playing on British soil for the first time in several years, and were doing pretty well, so it was some constant and slightly one-sided broadcasts that we watched but even so, it was brilliant! I’ve not really paid this tournament any attention before but now I’m hooked!

Three things to love about Fed Cup tennis:

  • The team nature. It’s not very often you see tennis players working as a team. Sure, there’s doubles but here we had players sitting on the sidelines roaring for their teammates as they all tried to do their best for their country. It’s such an individual sport, and one that relies so heavily on the mental side of things, that to see the impact having a consistent level of support does is really interesting.
  • The team captain. I’m fascinated by this team captain business, wherein all the pressure rests on your shoulders but you can’t really do anything except decide who plays when and then have a quick word with them each time they sit down. It must be pretty frustrating and nail biting, but equally must deliver a great sense of pride when/if it all comes together.
  • Great tennis. For whatever reason, most of the people playing said it all meant so much more when playing for your country, and that means we got to see some really great tennis.

Three things not to love about Fed Cup tennis:

  • Trying to figure out how it works. I have studied this calendar for plenty long enough and not gotten anywhere, it makes no sense to me. Also, were Britain playing in a sort of pre-qualifying match whereas Romania were already in the next round but playing at the same time?
  • Lack of Hawkeye. I think because Britain were playing a prior round (maybe?) they were in Bath, which was a decent location but perhaps lacks some of the conveniences of the more high profile tennis destinations. Everyone involved seemed to be complaining about poor line calls and there is no recourse without Hawkeye. In this day and age, it’s so frustrating to return to places that don’t have the technology because you know that it could just solve the problems so much easier.
  • Tie breaks. It felt like every set that Britain played ended up going to a tie break and oof, those things are stressful at the best of times let alone when everyone involved wants it SO BADLY.

Still, none of those things has put me off and I am intrigued to know what happens in the next round. If only I could figure out when it actually is.

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