5 reasons why tennis is better than football


Wimbledon versus the Euros: it's enough to cause tellybox tribal warfare in living rooms across the land.

But before racing for the zapper, you need to know why tennis far outflanks football. Luckily, sports writer John Skilbeck is here for you...

1. Bad romance

Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka embrace after a match at Wimbledon
(Mike Egerton/PA)

Never mind TV's blockbuster bodice-rippers, tennis has plenty of sauce. Each match burns like a fatally doomed relationship, starting from love and climaxing in an embrace at the net from which one party emerges thoroughly satisfied, the other broken-hearted.

Between times, the in-full-view hook-up takes in scoring points off each other, the playing of games, faults aplenty on both sides and time-outs, not to mention a little grunting. Football matches are more of a Tinder fling, made for studs. There might be fun in brief horseplay and writhing on the grass, but those emotions are all fake and beware the cheats.

2. Shiny happy people

Fans cheer on Andy Murray at Wimbledon
(Adam Davy/PA)

When the main irritation in a crowd is the jester crying out 'Come on Tim' during an Andy Murray match, you know it was smarter to book Wimbledon tickets than that trip to watch England play Russia in Marseille.

Crowd trouble in SW19 tends to boil down to sweet-wrapper rustling, camera-shutter clicking, and Sir Cliff singing.

3. Bananarama

Marin Cilic eats a banana

If the fruit that best exemplifies modern football is sour grapes, then the humble banana perhaps typifies tennis. Not only has it become many players' favoured mid-match snack, with 5,000 kilograms of the fruit munched by the stars at Wimbledon 2015, but the eating process is tennis in a microcosm.

The banana begins unzipped, and despite common assumptions of what lies in store, only once witnessed and tasted can one be said to have truly experienced the banana. So in summary: bananas are brilliant, tennis is unpredictable, and that was an analogy too far.

4. All the singles ladies

Garbine Muguruza playing at Wimbledon
(Alastair Grant/AP)

England's Lionesses are a wonderful football side, World Cup semi-finalists and Euro 2017 trophy contenders. But look how they go under-appreciated when compared to the Three Limping Lions. The argument goes that they can't run as fast as the men, they don't possess the same power, and therefore it's not an equivalent spectacle.

Thankfully dinosaurs tend to give Wimbledon a miss. Grand slam tennis tournaments pay women the same as the men, put them on the same courts, and there's nary any complaint heard from the fans, whatever the gender of the players wielding rackets.

Of course from the serve onwards, the pace of the men's game against the women's game shows an unmistakable difference: many fans, as it happens, prefer the subtlety and craft demonstrated by the women to the boom-boom tedium of the men's 140mph serves.

5. She's in fashion

Bethanie Mattek-Sands  at Wimbledon
(Sean Dempsey/PA)

Footballers pull on coloured boots and somehow think they're creating a fashion sensation. US tennis star Bethanie Mattek-Sands slips on a tassled jacket adorned with tennis balls down each arm and makes Lady Gaga's dress sense look almost conservative.

Wimbledon's all-white policy has not stopped many a fashion statement, from Roger Federer's button-up cardigan, gold kit bag and swag lounge jacket, to Serena Williams' 2008 trenchcoat, all the way back to Gussie Moran's short dress and ruffled lace-trimmed knickers that cause a stir - "Oh, I say!" indeed - that had the All England Club establishment in befuddled uproar in 1949.