The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

The voice of the student body

The Dial

Unordinary Sports: Calliope Yanuzzi Shares her Opinions on her Sport Court Tennis

Credit: Calliope Yannuzi
Calliope the sophomore plays court tennis. She travels to various places to compete in tournements like, Newport. Court tennis has limited courts which leads to all the travel.

Clash went the sound of the racket against the ball; sophomore Calliope Yanuzzi had just won another point.

“Court Tennis” is a unique sport that involves attributes from tennis (it is called “real tennis” outside of the United States). Believe it or not, there are only ten courts in the entire U.S., one of them being located in Tuxedo Park, NY, Calliope’s hometown. Proper tennis, also known as court tennis, has been played for over 800 years.

Court tennis is played indoors with a solid, cricket-type ball. The rackets are wooden, giving the sport an old-school feel, and they have a very small sweet spot compared to standard tennis rackets. Some consider court tennis an extreme sport because play is continuous so there is no time to catch your breath. One needs to be athletic, fit, and have a good mental game. Calliope’s natural athletic ability makes her the perfect fit for this sport.

Calliope started playing court tennis at age 11 when she became old enough to hold the racket, as court tennis rackets are fairly heavy. It is ideal that Calliope lives in Tuxedo Park as she is surrounded by other court tennis players. She grew up watching family members play before her, and Calliope’s best friend Hazel, whom she met in kindergarten, happens to also be her doubles partner. Calliope says that the sport is nothing like tennis, and is very hard to visualize without actually playing. It is also challenging for a young woman to compete in a sport that is predominately made up of white men.

“This is not ideal to be around for a teenage girl,” Calliope said.

Hackley is a school that values athletics and allows students to be immersed in an environment with athletes a little older or younger than the individual and has a pretty equal ratio of boys to girls. Calliope has always been seen as the youngest in this sport as she competes in tournaments in the under-19 category. Calliope says court tennis is made up of 98% men and 2% women. This creates an uncomfortable surrounding for her and her partner as it limits them from speaking up to these “old men” that have been playing for years. With these standards, Calliope feels set back because she is looked down on, and finds it challenging to speak up.

Apart from this, Calliope views the sport as “an escape from my day-to-day life.”

With the stress of school, Calliope says that court tennis is an outlet; she is able to forget about various stresses, and issues happening around her and focus on a sport she takes great pride in. Playing a sport that is so personal and unique to her allows for her true self to show which can be refreshing.

Calliope has the opportunity to be coached by Tim Chisholm, the best doubles court tennis player in the history of the sport, she says, “He’s amazing, and I love playing with him.”

Calliope plays with him every weekend, and due to his experience in the sport he has helped Calliope find even more joy and gain a greater understanding of court tennis. Coach Chisholm is someone Calliope looks up to in many aspects of the sport, one of them being the advice he provides. He and his partner play righty lefty which coincidentally is the same as Calliope and Hazel. This gives Calliope a leg up as Chisholm can better help and acknowledge the roadblocks she may encounter. Calliope also looks up to the fact that Chisholm has been trying to strengthen the youth program, eliminating the stereotypes older men have created in this sport, which is something Calliope experiences daily.

Despite the fact that court tennis is targeted to an audience of older men, Calliope’s opportunity to play with a top-tier coach and have her family by her side, allows her to continue loving this sport. She pours her personality and athletic abilities to keep improving day by day.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Dial Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *