Monday, January 15, 2018

Tennis Watching Etiquette Tips

“Clothes and manners do not make the man; But when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.” The late, great Arthur Ashe... A graceful, a strong competitor and a gentleman. – Ashe was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win not only the singles title at Wimbledon, but both the US Open, and the Australian Open. He retired in 1980. The Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award is named for the tennis player Arthur Ashe. Although it is a sport-oriented award, it is not limited to sports-related people or actions, as it is presented annually to individuals whose contributions “transcend sports.” According to ESPN, the organisation that gives out the award, “recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost.”

The pomp and circumstance that surrounds a tennis match is as important to the game as the etiquette that applies to a Coronation or an Inauguration of a President of the United States. These formal occasions draw crowds in the thousands and yet no one cries out “youse was a lucky bum, Queeny” or “Mr. President, we was robbed.” Baseball, football and prizefighting are popular spectator sports and there is a promient place for Leo Durocher, the Sunday morning quarterback and an easy shave with Gillette Blades. Tennis is a participation sport and the gallery is expected to conduct themselves as if they were one of the competitors. 

One tennis impresario suggested that tennis fans should boo the players, heckle the referee or throw chewing gum wrappers and tea bags. Not so long ago, he was a great champion who realized tennis fans like to watch him play because they were concentrating on every point as if they were in the match with him. Tennis, golf and bowling are all good participation sports and the spectators thereof should be aware of the courtesy they owe the participants. “Nice shot,” “sorry” and “good try” are as much a part of tennis as “take it off” at a burlesque show. –By David Gillam for Desert Sun, 1962

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia