Tennis Explained: Inside ‘The Show’ | ATP Tour
New to the game of tennis? Our Tennis Explained series will quickly bring you up to speed with all you need to know to fully enjoy the sport. This installment covers some entertainment (both on and off court), fashion and more.
How To Entertain
What is a tweener?
The holy grail of hot shots, a tweener is a circus shot hit between the legs, usually with a player’s back to the net. They’re not quite as rare as you might think, as they do have a tactical benefit in particular situations — when a player is sprinting back from the net to track down a lob, a tweener can be the best option.
During the 2022 ATP Tour season, Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas hit consecutive tweeners as both chased down lobs in Miami, making for one of the points of the season.
What is an underarm serve?
While the standard tennis serve is struck with the hitting arm at full stretch above a player’s head, some like to mix it up with the cheeky underarm serve. This changeup tactic, where a player quickly drops the ball and bunts it over the net, has seen more play in recent years as returners have begun to stand far back behind the baseline to return powerful serves.
As long as the ball does not bounce after it is tossed — or in the case of the underarm serve, dropped — it is a legal serve.
How do players engage fans during a match?
Players love to pump up the crowd after big or dramatic points, often asking for more noise as they bask in the adulation. Some have even gone as far as to high-five some lucky fans in celebration after winning a thrilling point.
Have players ever asked fans for advice?
We can point to at least one example of this one! Nick Kyrgios has, on occasion, asked fans to tell him where to serve on match point — and the unique tactic has worked to great effect.
Kyrgios employed this strategy on the way to his titles in Washington, D.C., in both 2019 and 2022.
What are some of the most memorable celebrations?
Daniil Medvedev performed a celebration for the gaming generation after he won the 2021 US Open title, when he surprised spectators by flopping to the floor and lying motionless, emulating the “dead fish” celebration from the FIFA video game series.
Frances Tiafoe has borrowed LeBron James’ trademark ‘Silencer’ celebration after some big wins, while Novak Djokovic always marks his victories by symbolically sharing his heart with all four sides of the stands.
Do celebrities attend tennis tournaments?
Marquee tennis matches often prompt a “who’s who” of celebrity sightings in the stands. And with the many high-profile cities that host ATP Tour events, there’s never a shortage of stars nearby.
Players often invite celebrities to sit in their player box at events. Tiger Woods, for example, has been a repeat guest of Rafael Nadal’s at the US Open.
Other celebrity fans include David Beckham, Rebel Wilson, Tom Cruise, Anna Wintour, Ben Stiller, Zendaya, Bill Gates and many more!
Is there ever entertainment during breaks in matches or between matches?
In addition to the music that is typically played during changeovers and other breaks in play, live entertainment is also on offer at any events.
At the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, violinists played for the crowd in between matches, while a live DJ kept the party going during down periods at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
What other fun activities might you find at tournaments?
Tournament sites can be entertaining destinations on their own, and there is plenty to do even if you don’t watch a point of tennis — though we certainly don’t recommend that!
Culinary offerings, retails stores, sponsor activations, interactive games, live entertainment and kids’ zones often dot the grounds.
Dress To Impress
What do players typically wear for matches?
ATP Tour players normally pair a performance T-shirt or polo shirt with shorts.
Do players always need to wear all-white clothing?
Wimbledon is the only tour-level event that requires players to wear primarily white clothing. Players are free to be daring with their attire choices, though “tennis whites” remain a classic option year-round.
Are tennis clothes boring?
Anything but! Even before the days of Andre Agassi’s boundary-pushing looks of the 1990s, tennis fashion has had a heavy cultural influence in the world at large.
Today’s stars have carried on that tradition, with recent standout kits including tie-dye and other unique patterns as well as sleeveless looks.
How often do players change their kit?
Players typically switch up their kit a few times each season, with a new look often coming along with the surface changes during the year.
Do tennis players only wear tennis kits?
Players always play in their match kits, but they often add extra splashes of style by walking on and off the court with a warm-up suit.
Press conferences and off-court activities are other opportunities for players to show off their fashion sense.
What are some of the most memorable outfits players have worn?
Andre Agassi’s jean shorts and, later, his pirate-inspired match kit live long in the memory, as do the sleeveless kits in which a young Rafael Nadal won his first Roland Garros title.
But there are countless others to choose from — ask any longtime fan and they’ll give you a different answer.
ATP 50: Fabulous Fashion
Are any players interested in off-court fashion?
Many players enjoy showing off their style both on and off the court, with Lorenzo Musetti, Reilly Opelka and Grigor Dimitrov all having sat down with ATPTour.com to discuss their fashion inspirations.
How many sponsor patches can a player wear?
You won’t catch a tennis player looking like a NASCAR car out on the court! There are limits to the number and sizing of patches on player kits, though players often wear logos on their caps, shirts and shorts.