Tennis, form, the law and life

By Atty. Eduardo T. Reyes III

There are no points for the correct form or posture in tennis.

One can win a point when the player opposite the net cannot return the ball, regardless of how the ball got there to begin with.

Tennis has become more of a game of power rather than elegance or grace. Of late, there has been an uproar of sorts when no player in the top ten in the world bears a single-handed backhand.

Everyone misses the greatest of them all- Roger Federer- who embodies grace and elegance on the tennis court. His game is not all about power. It is art, poetry in motion, and classic and modern tennis rolled into one.

Maria Sharapova is not only known for her powerful groundstrokes, but her beauty. Yet to this columnist, it is not just her physical beauty that stands out. It is her determined look while waiting for the ball and how she focuses when chasing after every ball at play that makes her extremely attractive.

“Tennis is life,” is the mantra of most tennis aficionados. But perhaps there is a deeper meaning to this line.

Tennis teaches values that can be applied to life.

Focus. In anything we do, we need to focus. Our eyes must always be on the ball. There could be many distractions in today’s world but when we concentrate on our goal, we will be able to hit the ball on the sweet spot of our racquet.

Form. In everything, we must observe the proper form. We may win a game by scrambling here and there but if we disregard form, then everything is lost. On this account, lawyers can take heed from consummate tennis players that it is not just about hitting the ball, but hitting it with style, let alone with grace, that truly counts.

Being a tennis player and a lawyer at the same time, this columnist cannot help but compare tennis to a court litigation. A lawsuit begins when one lawyer files a complaint in court which must be answered by the defendant’s lawyer. It is akin to a tennis game where one player serves and the other must return the serve. When you serve, you don’t just pound on the ball like a hammer hitting a nail. You start with your stance, then you relax your grip on the racquet, handle the ball on the other hand, look at the box where you need to put it in, throw the ball unto the air, lift your legs from the ground, and then swing the racquet above your head.

During those few seconds when your feet are off the ground, they matter a lot. Without observing the proper form, a tennis player could be most awkward while hanging in the air.

In law, lawyers get off the ground most of the time as they need to deliver a “good serve” when they bring a lawsuit.

Just like tennis, in life, we cannot have our way by just using force to get the ball across. We have to heed the proper form and must always have class.

Hard-hitters in tennis may have hogged the limelight for a while but they are soon forgotten. Rather, it is the likes of Stefan Edberg who had the “crispiest” serve and volley game ever and Jimmy Connors who had the smoothest back swing and follow through, both of whom tiptoed on the tennis court like ballerinas, who will forever be remembered in the tennis world.

So, too, in life, it is not how hard you’ve hit your way into success that matters.

It is rather by each smooth stroke you hit the ball of every challenge that comes across the net that truly counts- which must be with elegance and grace all the time.

Indeed, there may be no points on the scoreboard for form, grace and elegance in tennis.

But in the real scoreboard of life, form, grace and elegance, deserve the highest scores.

                (The author is the senior partner of ET Reyes III & Associates– a law firm based in Iloilo City. He is a litigation attorney, a law professor, MCLE lecturer, bar reviewer and a book author. His website is


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