I religiously started following tennis back in 1995, at twelve years of age, before this I pretty much only watched the grass-court campaign. I was a county standard player when I was a kid, but a failed player all the same in that sense. Tennis and Football were what I dreamt of doing as a boy and even to this day, I would struggle to pick between the two. To put this in perspective, I, like most, was and am completely and totally obsessed with Football, so that tells you where tennis is at in my head. Being a Liverpool fan and just about remembering our last league title in 1990 (only five years previous to this but an eternity ago) tells me I have been avidly watching tennis for a long time.
Favourite players have come and gone since the ’90s. I am loyal, so there has only been Michael Chang, Tim Henman and in the modern-day Serena and Evo. I have liked many players but these four are the ones who have got me travelling to events in their support. You can probably add Murray to this list too as I have so much time for the lad it is unreal. With Chang, Henman and Evans you can hardly call me a glory hunter though with just one Grand Slam between them. Serena is just Serena. What a player. With all of the above I have ridden the highs and the lows with them. The highs have been sheer ecstasy and the lows have been gut-wrenching.
The truth is that I am a tennis geek. I just cannot get enough of trips to Surbiton, Edgbaston, Roehampton, Queens, Nottingham, Eastbourne and Wimbledon. When I am really on fire there have been numerous trips to the US Open, French Open, Davis Cup and the Masters Series in Bercy. The grass-court and the US hardcourt campaign are my favourite time of year and when I am getting the tunes blasting even more than normal to pump to me up. Banging!
When it comes to tennis betting, it has basically seen me through a lot of my career in one way or another thus far. That I obviously have a lot to be grateful for in its own right. It has become part of my life too. Whereas it was strictly my job to compile tennis odds for 13 years, I have now moved slightly outside of the box. I still love a bet on tennis though.
Pitting my wits on the outrights and occasional match betting is something that I really look forward to on a daily and weekly basis. I do it these days with the aim to make a few quid and get the bragging rights at the same time for being a ‘judge’. The buzz of a tennis match with a bet riding on it is quite some experience, let me tell you. It can be an emotional roller-coaster of a ride. You can live and breathe every point. People have gone far too overboard these days with their messages to players on social media. It is an absolute disgrace. All cos they have lost a few quid. We can all ‘lose our heads’ but not in that way.
I have met plenty of people who would say they are tennis punters first and tennis fans second. For me, Chang losing to Becker, Henman losing to Goran in 2001, Serena losing to Vinci or Evo losing to Sousa leaves a bitter taste for a while. Irrespective of money. A bet might initially leave you with that sinking feeling but you should get over it soon enough in reality. I would have won more money with Bianca Andreescu winning the US than I would have with Serena. It didn’t matter though, I didn’t even question it in my mind. I was desperate for Serena to win. It would have been the same whatever the scenario on the betting front.
In truth, there is only ever one winner here. I pretty much got my career through my knowledge of tennis, so my love and obsession with the sport will win every time. When you can combine the two and enjoy it as much as you do though why not?
Andy Del Potro.