- Published on
Bali Tennis Adventures
- Justin Phu
I love playing tennis. It's so satisfying when you hit that shot just right and you feel unstoppable. So it only made sense that even on my 3 month trip to Bali I was still playing tennis.
I was lucky enough to find some Balinese locals who invited me to play with them. I can still remember the first time I got to play. I get to the location, there were two courts which fairly worn down. We played at night so there were bats flying around above the court. There were 4-5 people there, if I had to guess they were aged from 30-45. I said hello and they spoke a little bit of english. Enough english to have a little chit-chat about where I was visiting from and for how long. They told me they have been playing together for over 5 years! I don't think there's many things I have committed to for 5 years!
We started playing. Now they'd speak in Balinese most of the time. It was hard to keep track of the score or what was going on but what I did understand was the game of tennis. When someone hit an amazing shot, or missed an easy shot I could join in the celebration or ridicule. It was lovely that despite the language barrier I could connect through the joy of tennis! The playstyle was quite different to what I was used to. I'm used to playing heavy topsin from deep behind the baseline, but here it was flat balls. Slap every ball and either win or miss it. Soon I could see my playstyle starting to match theirs... for better or for worse. I was maybe middle of the pack in terms of skill but I was incredibly rusty. I missed a LOT of balls but everyone was so supportive and we usually just laughed it off. No one was overly competitive - it was just a bunch of fun.
I came expecting to play maybe once or twice but it quickly became a regular thing. Every Friday, I'd grab a motorcycle to the courts and play for ~2 hours. I was amazed at their hospitality. They wouldn't even let me pay for the courts! I'm always grateful them letting me into their group with open arms. It was the perfect way for me to disconnect from work and get my exercise in. It didn't matter who I was or what I did that week, when I stepped on the court it was just a group of friends playing a fun game of tennis.