| By Cesar Andrade

After playing decades of tennis, coaching all levels and all ages, and watching high level, junior tournaments and, adult USTA matches, I realize tennis players have their own “on-court” language. Scenario: While observing a women’s 4.5 USTA team match, one of the players screams, “Youuuuuuurs!” Her partner races back to try and cover the lob, but was unable to deliver. The “Youuuuurs” player turns to her partner and says, “Good try. Next time.” And her partner respectfully replies, “Thanks.”

However, the body language of both players says something completely different and in my own twisted brain, I started to imagine what each player REALLY wanted to say to the other. 

Player 1    Tennis Translation
“YOOOOOOURS!” “I’m offense, your defense. Move your feet and cover me!”
“Good try; next time.” “I did my job. Now do a better job doing yours!”
Player 2 Tennis Translation
“Thanks.” “If you weren’t kissing the net, you could have covered your own lob!

So, yes, I do believe that ALL athletes have their own language when put in competitive situation. Let’s take “good sportsmanship” out of the equation, and dive deeper into what you really mean when you communicate with your partner and opposing team players.

Below are some of my personal favorites.

On Court Comment  Translation
“The score does not reflect the actual match. Loads of deuce points.” “We lost huge!” Winning players typically do not announce the amount of “deuce points” played.
“You were there.” “Easy shot! I could have gotten that in my sleep!”
“Shoooooorrrrrt!!” “I just gave the opposition a beautiful, overhead feed … don’t hate me and please run for your life.”
“Just out!”  “Anything hitting back of the line is out.”
“It’s okay.” “That ball was flying out! Are you blind?!”
“Next time.” “You just double faulted on a critical point. Please die.”
Before a match to the opposing team: “Good match!” or “Let’s have fun!” Insert heavy Russian accent here: “I’m going to kill you and then kill your family.”
After a match to the opposing team: “Good match!” or “That was fun!”

If you win: “Ha! I knew we were going to beat you!”

If you lose: “I hate your game. We should have won. We have better skills and awesome matching outfits!”