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Tennis Tips from Andy Roddick

(ARA) - Andy Roddick can blaze a serve at over 150 MPH, but his true success is rooted in the fundamentals of the game. Whether you’re a beginner just taking up the sport, or an occasional player looking to improve, here are a few winning tips from the tennis champion for new and returning players of all ages and abilities.

Equipment -- What’s great about tennis is that all you need is a tennis racquet, a pair of sneakers and some tennis balls. If you are just starting to play, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on your equipment, but I do recommend that you keep that old wooden racquet in the closet and pick up a more modern racquet. As your game improves you can upgrade your racquet to maximize your abilities.

Lessons -- I can’t stress enough how important it is to take a few lessons to get started or reacquainted with the game. It’s proven that a much higher percentage of people who take tennis lessons stay with the game than those who try to learn on their own. There are more than 4,000 Tennis Welcome Centers in communities across the United States that offer fun and affordable introductory lessons. Visit and punch in your ZIP code to find a Tennis Welcome Center near you. Timing -- For beginners, it’s not a big time commitment. Teaching pros can have you hitting back and forth steadily in a few hours. For most, a four- to six-week group program led by a pro should put you on the fast track to enjoying the game.

Practice -- Even if you can’t get someone to play with, you can still practice. Bouncing the ball on your racquet and volleying against a wall are proven methods to get you comfortable with the racquet. For beginners, practice should be about skill repetition. Save the booming serves for later -- first learn to volley.

Fitness -- The beauty of tennis is that the more you play the more fit you get. And as your fitness improves, your speed, agility, endurance and overall game improves. Hit the tennis courts twice a week and say good-bye to that treadmill -- tennis is a full body workout that is fun and social. An average-sized woman playing an hour of tennis can burn 330 calories during doubles and 420 calories during singles. An average-sized man playing an hour of tennis can burn about 425 calories during doubles and 600 calories during singles.

Strategy -- As you play the same opponents on a regular basis take mental notes on the shots they have trouble with. Remember, it’s not just about excelling at your game, it's also about targeting your opponent’s weaknesses. But the best strategy is to have fun and keep fit playing our great game!

For more information on tennis facilities in your community offering programs that will get you playing fast, visit

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