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Don’t tell anyone but it turns out ageing takes a real toll on the ol’ body.

Back in my heyday I used to be able to punch 20 darts, drink my bodyweight in liquor and then bounce out of bed at 7am for a jaunty run.

(I’m definitely lying though because 7am doesn’t exist and no one goes for a ‘jaunty’ run, they move their legs until the will to live seeps out of their body.)

The moral of the story though is that my prematurely-aged self is a touch out of step with this whole cardio nightmare. So, why not rub salt in the wounds by playing tennis with my significantly fitter mate?

If you’ve been planning on doing the same thing but keep weaselling your way of it, I highly recommend signing up for an Open Court Session. You don’t have to have any gear (or any mates for that matter). It’s just a group of regular people socialising and having a playful hit of the yellow (green?) ball.

Curious? Strap yourselves in, because I’m gonna give you a play-by-play of what I learnt when I ran around a tennis court after a solid decade of terrible life choices.

Beer does not make you a better player

Going into this, I’d developed a bout of nerves because I was genuinely afraid that my lung capacity had gone past the point of no return and I was nervous I’d tap out in 20 seconds.

So, how do you calm nerves? Get a sweet beer down your gob. Obviously I did it off the court because I’m a classy broad.

Turns out, the fizzy nature of beer actively works against you when you’re throwing your body around. Save the grog for afterwards, I say.

If you book in for an Open Court Session, some tennis clubs actually organise bevs post-game so you can mingle with your new mates and/or dates (a cramp might not be the only thing you pick up at the courts wink wink nudge nudge).

Natural endorphins are a thing

Colour me absolutely shocked, but did you know there was such a thing as a natural high? Personally, I thought the only way to get that sweet kick of endorphins was to approach a sketchy looking dude named Phil in the darkest corner of a bar.

But now that I’ve discovered physical exertion gives you one hell of a buzz, I’m here to spread the word to the masses.

Run, you fools. Run.

My mate may be fitter on paper but he’s a pretty bloody average tennis player

I’m not touting myself as the next Jesus (if Jesus was a tennis pro) but I can at least hit the ball. This absolute clown David (above) could barely do that.

Was it supposed to be a friendly game? Sure. Was I getting too competitive? Perhaps. Was David able to serve the ball in my general direction? Debatable.

But that’s the beauty of playing an Open Court Session – no one actually cares how good you are.

It was still thoroughly enjoyable to sweat it out and pretend for a fleeting second that I was getting paid millions of dollars to shout at a nonexistent umpire about a nonexistent decision they made.

Tennis courts attract the finest human specimens

If you’re considering playing a spot of tennis, you’ve got to be interested for the right reasons.

One very valid reason is to simply exist in the same vicinity as some athletic stunners. I’m a firm believer that if you surround yourself by people in better shape than you, you’ll just naturally absorb their athleticism.

So, with that in mind, find your most agreeable friend and bully them into booking an Open Court Session at a joint near you. If you have to lure them in with pizza, then so be it.

Some clubs have bloody PIZZA

Sincerely, do it. I’ve played tennis once this week and I already feel superior to everyone else.

The best part about an Open Court Session is that everyone who’s there will have different abilities so you’re not going to stick out like a sore thumb, plus, as I’ve mentioned, you may even meet a hottie or two and share a cute bev with them afterwards.

Nothing beats a meet-cute when you’re both flying high on natural endorphins.

Image: Steff Tan Photography™