Next week, the world's best tennis palyers will step on the court at Flushing Meadows to compete in our nation's most prestigious tennis tournament equipped with a lone racquet gripped in one of their hands. Amateurs.
A few miles to the north, in Bronxville, NY, a professor at Concorida College is trying to popularize two-racquet tennis, a game that's name pretty much sums up it's guiding principle. As the New York Times detailed in its Sunday edition, Don Mueller took up two-racquet tennis three years ago while hitting against a wall and continually switching his racquet from hand to hand. Why not hold two, he thought?
Lest you think this is a joke, here's some video of Mueller hitting from a ball machine:
Watching the video, my main question was about how one's mobility is affected while playing with two racquets. In an email, he responded:
Actually, I simply think of the racquets as extensions of my arms and when I move (slowly or quickly) the racquets "move as arms" and their synchronous movement does not affect my mobility in a negative way as some people would anticipate. Interestingly, I was asked a similar question by USTA head of officials, Richard Kaufman (not a particularly bright fellow I must add, but clearly stubborn in his views against my promotion of the two-racket game, which he openly called, "not tennis."). He asked on this occasion, "How do you run?" To which I replied, "With my legs!" The funny thing is that I had sent him a DVD showing him unambiguously that I can run easily with two rackets. And yet, when I asked him (after his question) if he had viewed the DVD, he stated that he had not and more importantly, that he and his colleagues had "made up their minds" on two-racket tennis. As a scientist, I'm compelled by my training to review the evidence before making any decisions and certainly to avoid making rash decisions. Unfortunately, this kind of scientific-like review does not also take place behind the walls of the USTA.
Point, Mueller. (And we fully advocate his spelling of "racquet".)
Asked about who would win in a two-racquet match between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, Mueller went with Nadal given the Spaniard's training with both hands. I'd tend to agree, even if I'm not sure what would happen if Nadal didn't have a spare hand with which to conduct one of his favorite, um, on-court activities.