Ladies Who Tennis

Ladies Who Tennis is a popular tennis blog produced by local writer and tennis player Belinda Smith.


By Belinda Smith

I had a long overdue breakfast with a friend today. I knew she’d have a gem for me and she did. 

Ruth started by telling me about her recent singles match. First off, my hat’s off to all of you ladies who are somewhere within a decade of me, and are still battling it out between the singles lines. Those days are long gone for me. Singles used to be my thing. It used to be my jam. But truthfully, I’m not even a little jelly. I like knowing I have a partner to depend on, to strategize with, to retrieve my first serves which I often pelt at the net. 

She told me that she took her singles opponent through a challenging 3-setter. Not a favorite thing to do down here in Atlanta, where even the cloud covered, late spring sky brings no relief from the heat. Instead, it replaces the hot temps with viscous humidity so stifling that if it weren’t for red faces and drenched clothing, you might get away with telling people you’d just stepped out of the shower.  

But get this, they could have made it easier on themselves by agreeing to play a 10-point tie-breaker in lieu of the 3rd set but these are bad-to-the-bone, die-hard, tennis-playing, southern ladies. There’s no “in lieu-ing” of anything!  

Unfortunately, Ruth lost but politely congratulated the winner who then made a curious remark about her own game, “I’m surprised that not many of my balls were 'out' today." To which Ruth replied, still short of breath from the match, “So was I!”  

After discussing the comment with Ruth we decided, based on other personalities we’ve met on the court, that it is a rarity these days to find an opponent who calls the “close” or questionable balls “in" rather than “out". To me, the situation is similar to the rule in baseball which gives the tie, between base runner and ball, to the runner because it’s too close to call.  

In tennis, if you're not sure whether the ball…. 

You can find the rest of the story, at