I got to answer this on another site. Thought I'd echo it here just because.
I was having a perfectly awful night, receiving doubles in the ad court (usually my favorite.) I had stayed put after my return, and the rushing server decided to squeeze a drop volley wide. And it was a beauty.
I took off. He didn't know it, but that's my favorite part of tennis. I'm a little gray, and I wear a knee brace, but I love to "get there."
I got there.
And I got there with enough time to put about a 40 mph topper on that little spot between them where neither had a chance.
I love tennis because they both dropped their jaws and gawked. They knew the heart, training, control, creativity, and luck that shot took, and they took the time to admire it. I love tennis because that one shot felt so unexplainably good the whole night was redeemed. I love tennis because you all know exactly what I mean. I love tennis because for three hours, every passion of my heart gets to push my body as hard as it can go but is punished for imprecision. I love that when I hit the ball, I cannot look at the target. Mostly, I love to feel the force of my pinky toe channel up through my palm and drive a ball to a target I only see in my heart.
I love tennis because every character flaw and weakness I show at work and home and church, bleeds out onto the court. You can't lie about who you are on the court. If you're a choker, you'll choke. And I love that when Dunlop Maxply and others gave me tips to fight choking, I could test them on the court, and find out they worked at home with my son.
And I love tennis because after 35 years I still let the point of impact on my backhand drift in toward my body, and wonder why everything goes wide left.
This game is just amazing.