The Best Tennis Quotes of All Time

Sometimes it’s hard to express just why you love tennis, but thankfully, these tennis quotes can help.

Unsurprisingly, some of the people who have played tennis to the highest level have some amazing quotes about the game, so we thought we would put together some of our favorites.

For us though, there’s one tennis quote that stands above all others:


It may have been said in jest, but despite losing to Jimmy Connors 16 times in a row, it just showed his mentality was in the right place, and guess what, nobody did beat Vitus 17 times in a row.

Vitus wasn’t the only guy with a great view on tennis though, so we’ve put together some of the best tennis quotes for everyone to admire.

Tennis Quotes On Why We Love the Game

Just like the rest of us, many professionals have admitted to having a love/hate relationship with the game.

It can just be so frustrating, and there are times when people want nothing to do with it.

However, everyone seems to come back to it eventually and that’s simply because there are some aspects about tennis that we just love too much.

Here are some of the great tennis quotes about why we love the game.


“Tennis belongs to the individualistic past – a hero, or at most a pair of friends or lovers, against the world.”



“In tennis, the addict moves about a hard rectangle and seeks to ambush a fuzzy ball with a modified snow-shoe.”



“Tennis is not a gentle game. Psychologically, it is vicious. That people are only just beginning to come to terms with this fact illustrates just how big a con trick has been perpetrated on the non-playing tennis public – and even a few players, usually losing players – for decades.”



We love this idea that tennis is out there conning people into thinking it’s a gentile sport when in reality it’s so brutal.

If you watch Rafa on TV, then you can see it’s brutal, but still, you write it off as being that way at the professional level.

At your general club level, this is still such a brutal game though.

It combines physical prowess with an incredible mental challenge that’s there no matter what level you’re playing at.

Whatever way you look at it, tennis just isn’t gentile and that’s part of the reason we love it.

“I have always considered tennis as a combat in an arena between two gladiators who have their racquets and their courage as their weapons.”



“It’s one-on-one out there, man. There ain’t no hiding. I can’t pass the ball.”



“Tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love – the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature.”



This Agassi quote is one that we love to use – every match is life in miniature.

Every time you step out on court, you experience the emotions of life, but it’s like they’ve been concentrated to create a storm in a teacup.

You can go out on the court and express yourself in a way that few people manage to do in life.

It sounds like hyperbole, but you really can experience life through a game of tennis, and you can’t help but love it for this, even if it’s one of the reasons you also might hate it.

Tennis Quotes on Mentality

As we’ve just mentioned, one of the reasons so many people love the game of tennis is because it offers such a mental challenge.

It’s almost reassuring when you watch TV and see the pros struggling with this side of the game because it just goes to show how difficult it is.

Some have had more success than others with the mental side of the game, but from the struggles have come some great quotes.


“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.”


It’s so easy to be obsessed with the destination as a tennis player. This is especially true for junior players who have so much pressure on them.

The truth is though, the journey is the most important thing and you need to enjoy it.

Tennis isn’t about getting somewhere, it’s about enjoying the experience and learning the lessons it teaches you.


“Everything comes at a cost. Just what are you willing to pay for it?”


We really like this quote from Serena.

It’s easy to watch her dominate women’s tennis and think she just got there through pure natural ability, but as she says, there’s a price to pay for the success, and that price comes through hard work.


“You only live once, but you get to serve twice.”

Author Unknown

As is often said, it’s not the end of the world if you lose. You miss a first serve, you’ve got another one to make it right.

There’s always another opportunity in tennis, so you can’t take it too seriously.


“The next point — that’s all you must think about.”



“I told myself to play free. You play the ball. You don’t play the opponent. Be free in your head. Be free in your shots. Go for it. The brave will be rewarded here.”



“I think luck falls on not just the brave but also the ones who believe they belong there.”



“What is the single most important quality of a tennis champion? I would have to say desire, staying in there and winning matches when you are not playing that well.”



“The great part about tennis is you can’t run out the clock…. As long as we were still playing, I had a chance.”


One of the ultimate competitors, and author of some great tennis quotes – his book is a must-read. It doesn’t matter what the score is; you’ve always got a chance.

Tennis Quotes On Winning and Losing

However much we focus on mentality, there are only two results in tennis – a win or a loss.

Dealing with either of these outcomes is an experience, and it’s not one that’s limited to the tennis court.

Just like in life, you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some on the tennis court, and how you deal with both can define you.

Here are some tennis quotes that put winning and losing into great context.


“I hate to lose more than I love to win.”

Jimmy Connors


“The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.”

Martina Navratilova

I’m sure there are some people who would say they love winning enough for it to be the be-all and end-all, but it really shouldn’t be.

This quote sums up the fact that the game is about more than winning beautifully and it’s another great tennis quote.

While Navratilova might not see winning as everything she certainly knew how to do it though, as the next quote goes to show.


“Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.”

Martina Navratilova


“Losing is not my enemy, fear of losing is my enemy.”

Rafael Nadal

Fear is never your friend on the tennis court. You can’t be afraid to miss and you can’t be afraid to lose, otherwise, you’re never going to be able to play your best tennis.

If there’s anyone who knows how to play well when it comes to the big points it’s Rafael Nadal, and this is a brilliant quote that shows how he frees himself up to play good tennis.


“Being number two sucks.”

Andre Agassi

As you may have noticed, we love a good Agassi quote, and we think this one is very poignant.

At the end of the day, tennis is a game that puts you up close and personal with your opponent in a battle of wits. Coming off second best always sucks, but that should just give you more motivation to get better.

Takeaways: The Best Tennis Quotes

We all know how frustrating tennis can be, but that’s the reason so many of us love it.

You’re out there on your own, and you’ve got to constantly find solutions to problems. Sometimes you will find them, and other times you won’t manage it, but you can learn something new every time you go on court.

It’s not always easy to express why we enjoy the sport so much, but thankfully, these tennis quotes go some way to doing it for us.

There are lots of good tennis quotes out there, and some amazing books on the subject, so don’t be afraid to dig deeper into your favorite sport and do some extra reading!

What’s your favorite tennis quote?

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