Since I first started playing tennis, I’ve constantly heard degrading stereotypes about the sport and the players. There are so many stereotypes about tennis/tennis players that have circulated because of non-tennis players starting these stereotypes. One huge stereotype about tennis is that a lot of people consider it as an easy sport. Every time I mentioned the word tennis to my friends at school, they would basically laugh at my face explaining how it shouldn’t even be considered a sport. They would say that tennis shouldn’t be a sport because there is no physical contact. However, there are MANY sports that don’t have physical contact and are still considered sports. This stereotype also led to gender stereotypes in tennis, and how tennis is a “girl sport.”
First of all, I believe there is no such thing as a “girl sport;” A sport can be played by any gender. People refer to tennis as a “girl sport” because they believe it is an easy sport to be good at, but that is far from the truth. Growing up hearing all these things was so aggravating because they are so ridiculous and so untrue, and sadly a large population of people believe in these stereotypes. In order to be successful at tennis, you must have the mind of a chess player, the endurance of a long-distance runner, the agility of a sprinter, and the strength of a weightlifter. Tennis is also one of the only individual sports out there. In a sport like basketball, if you have a bad blister or aren’t feeling 100%, you can be subbed in by another player. However in tennis, you are the only person out there and you can’t rely on anyone else for help, which requires a great amount of mental strength.
I have challenged these stereotypes by proving that in order to be successful in tennis, you have to put in a lot of hard-work. I would train on the court 4-5 hours and 2 hours in the gym everyday, 7 days a week, and yet there were still many guys better. There have been so many incidents where I’ve been injured and wanted to quit, but I toughed it out.