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A Tennis Christmas List
by Tony Severino
Certified Instructor 4A
Professional Tennis Registry

Tony Serverino Photo
Tony Severino

Santa, you sly ole elf! We know you!

You're a tennis player!

We have a photograph to prove it.

Tennis Santa Claus

White tennis balls!!

C'mon Santa.

When I was a boy at Christmas time we would put our Christmas Wish List in our stockings, hung on an artificial fireplace made of cardboard with a brick facade of crepe paper. We didn't have a real one, but that didn't hamper the illusion.

In those days we were lucky to receive one gift and luckier still if it was something on the list. Along with the stocking stuffer goodies you always added a few lumps of coal to remind us of the times we were less than well behaved. It was such fun making up those Christmas Wish Lists, that I made one up for tennis; my Tennis Christmas Wish List.

My wishes are not for presents, like a new tennis racquet, or tennis sweater or new sneakers, nothing like that. My wishes are mostly for you to help those poor wretched professional tennis players who endure such painful on-court histrionics. I'm not sure if you can help them, but I believe you can use your upbeat spirit to change their ways. And I'm asking you, Santa, because, you're a tennis player and we know where your heart is.

Anyway, here is my Tennis Christmas Wish List.

Wish #1 is about that screaming, and shrieking and grunting.

Mercy, Santa! All those agonized moans on court! It is painful just to hear them. Maybe you could put some pain killers in their stockings and all that unpleasant noise will go away. That's my first wish.

Wish #2 is about all that fist pumping.

Wow! Who are these people angry with, shaking their fists at any and everyone in general when they finish a point? Is there something you can you do to bring them inner peace and put an end to all that animosity and that silly fist pumping?

That would be great.

Wish #3 is for wearing baseball caps backwards.

One Christmas morning you left extra lumps of coal in my stocking. I knew why. There was this girl who did nutty things, a little slow on the uptake. We used to say "she has her head on backwards." I deserved it.

Professional tennis players appear to have their heads on straight so it shouldn't be too difficult to teach them how to wear a cap properly. Surely they are intelligent enough to understand that the peak goes in front to shade the sun. You might leave a mirror in their stockings so they can see how dumb they look. That should be sufficient. Your helpers could even write instructions on the proper way to wear a cap and leave those in there too. That might work.

Or, if for some reason they must have a brim in the rear, you could put a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker style cap in their stockings. That would be better than lumps of coal and serve both purposes, and not look as dumb.

Remember Ivan Lendl wore a Foreign Legion style cap for awhile with the curtain in the rear. That was different. Even one of those would be better than coal.

If nothing else works, you might have them pose for the cover of Mad Magazine and give Alfred E. Nueman a break. Whatever! That's my third wish.

Wish #4 is about wearing white only at Wimbledon.

It's funny. To get around the all-white dress requirement at Wimbledon some players have developed clever, sometimes outrageous, costumes designed to add "color" to their outfits. Some even sneak in some colored trim, testing the Brits' resolve no doubt. It often looks like a fashion designers' show featuring costumes that few, if any, we'll ever see again. Famous tennis fashion designer, Ted Tingling, (Love and Faults) surely beams from his resting place come the July classic. He would have reveled in being part of all this.

Even you, Santa, play in a bright red outfit which would give the British traditionalists apoplexy. The Brits gave in to color on the balls; yellow. Why not clothing? Can you use your influence to persuade them to allow it? Consider this, what would Fourth of July fireworks be if they were in white only?

Wish #5 is about those on-court gargoyles.

Mercy Me! Some of those on-court facial contortions render medieval gargoyles tame in comparison. Players win a game and suddenly it looks like an audition for the cover of Fangoria magazine. Is there some way to ease the pain that causes those grotesque contortions? Something is torturing these poor souls.

If you placed pictures of how they look in their stockings they should be embarrassed enough to spare the watching public those wretched images. That's my fifth wish.

Well Santa, I know this may be a challenge. These wishes are not of the cheerful kind you usually receive. But if you can't work your magic on them, I know a place where you can pick up some coal cheap.


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