100 Tennis Things To Do Before You Die – Part one of four.
Steal a player’s towel.
Get whistled at by a crowd at Roland Garros – the easiest way to achieve this is to take an age finding your seat. Dither in the aisle, hold up play, and your fellow spectators will let you know just what they think of you.
Appear on the ‘Kiss Cam’ at the US Open (or any other tournament in North America).
Get kissed by a tennis player.
Hurt yourself attempting a Roger Federer-style tweener.
Watch Federer play live at least once.
Go to a grand slam in the first week with the intention not to sit on one of the show courts, but to browse the outside courts, to watch players you’ve never seen before.
Learn to tell the difference between the identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan, when they’re off the court. On the court, it’s easy, as Mike is right-handed, and Bob is a lefty. Off the court, not so easy (they have been known to swap the photo IDs that players are required to wear around their necks while back-stage). Here’s a tip: if they’re standing next to each other, the one who is just an inch taller, that’s Bob.
Run the gauntlet of ticket touts between the Porte d’Auteuil Metro station and the gates of Roland Garros.
Play with a wooden racket.
Break a racket in anger.
PARENTAL WARNING: Copy Mikhail Youzhny’s move at the Miami tournament one year when he bashed his racket against the side of his head, drawing blood, and requiring medical treatment.
Learn the steps to the Petko-dance.
Serve a whole game of double-faults.
Spot Grace Jones at Wimbledon at least once.
Catch a sweaty wrist-band flung into the crowd, and vow never to wash it.
Sit on the steps of the sunken court at Foro Italico – the one surrounded by Mussolini’s statues – while eating a slice of pizza, and watching an early-evening match.
Join the queue or huddle for a player’s autograph, ask them to sign, and then walk away still none the wiser who they were.
Talk tennis with Richard Williams.
Take some red clay home as a souvenir from Roland Garros.
Take a blade of grass home as a souvenir from Wimbledon.
Read ‘A Handful of Summers’ by Gordon Forbes.
Queue overnight at Wimbledon for Centre Court tickets.
Reconcile whether you’re a Federer fan or a Nadal fan and what that says about you.
Spend an afternoon at the Monte Carlo Country Club.