I’m not sure what to make of this, but Don Mueller, of William Paterson University, New Jersey, who goes by the nickname Dr Bones sent me some video clips of what is, essentially, a new sport he invented – two-racquet tennis. Now, my first thought was: “what the flip?” But, apparently his service velocity is higher than that of most tennis professionals, although I don’t think that has anything to do with using a racquet in each hand.
Anyway, he has posted a selection of videos on Youtube to demonstrate his prowess at this new sport:
Mueller tells me that he combined his understanding of basic physics to devise the “Whip-Grip”, which gives him the higher velocity. He says there are other advantages of playing tennis with a racquet in each hand: “It’s really great at the net and no more tennis elbow pain from hitting backhands, the cause of most tennis injuries,” he explains, “Where most people say, Why?, I say, Why not?”
Mueller is a teaching adjunct at WPU and this semester he tells me he’s teaching mathematics. “I’ve taught chemistry, physics and math at WPU and that’s the way I like it,” he says, “With a PhD in chemical physics, I enjoy teaching all of these subjects. Not being tied down allows me to do other things, which in my case means performing science and health shows for the public along with my promotion of two-racquet tennis.”
The notion of reinventing a well-known and popular sport by the novel application of physics is not entirely new. Just think of the football (soccer) players on the fields of Rugby School in England, when William Webb Ellis during the early nineteenth century famously made the ball defy gravity and invented the eponymous team sport – rugby – from which American football was ultimately to evolve. Perhaps in 100 years’ time two-racquet tennis will have its own name, ambibat, perhaps and be just as common. One has to wonder how a McEnroe of the future might cope though, with two racquets to fling at the umpire!