I've played tennis since I was big enough to swing a racket―I started banging a ball against the basement wall when I was three years old. Almost four decades later, I'm still playing―and loving―the game. It's a sport that gives me the level of fitness, good health, and challenge I value.
I've coached some of the world's best players, including Andre Agassi, but I believe you don't have to be a great athlete to play tennis. With a little instruction, practice, and patience, you can master the basics. Sneakers, a racket, and a can of balls are all it takes to get started. Many communities have beautiful public courts where you can play with a friend. Joining a private tennis club is another option. Either way, you'll have fun and get in great shape. And the friends you'll make are special because tennis is a social game. Singles, doubles, mixed doubles, parent and child, husband and wife, and leagues and tournaments offer recreational opportunities that can last a lifetime.
Busy schedule? Tennis is time-efficient, too. Even now, I'll grab a racket and hit against the wall at my tennis court for 30 minutes for a quick, fun workout. In fact, it's more than fun. In my opinion, hitting the ball correctly is a thing of beauty.
Brad Gilbert was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and ranked as high as fourth in the world. From 1994 to 2002, he coached Andre Agassi to six Grand Slam titles, an Olympic medal, and a world rank of number one. He currently coaches Andy Roddick.