Photo illustration by the true god of tennis Ben Park.

Tennis Is a Rarefied and Beautiful Art and Your T-Shirt Should Be, Too

Running is over. Tennis is in!

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Sep 19 2018, 1:54pm

Photo illustration by the true god of tennis Ben Park.

Last week, I celebrated my 36th birthday (VIRGO SZN) in Los Angeles. This year, instead of a blowout party, dinner at an expensive restaurant where I do an elaborate *Italian chef kiss* routine at the presentation of multiple courses, or a trip to the spa, I opted for tennis lesson from my dear friend Jake, a lifelong player with a wonderful coaching demeanor.

But before we could hit the courts in Los Feliz, I had to get properly kitted. Pro-gear, pro-attitude!

The Racket Doctor is a fantastic tennis emporium located right on Glendale Boulevard in the heart of Atwater Village. They have been open since 1970, and it shows in the best way possible. It’s all perfectly shabby with an incredible selection of the latest high-tech gear. Jake gave me a guided tour, explaining the nuance of the product range. I left, in classic Chris fashion, wearing Nike on every inch of my body (“Nike checks all over me”), and then Coach Jake put me through the paces in the extreme midday heat.

I left it all on the court. Forehand is okay; backhand is more natural, but needs some work. It’s all about footwork.

Oh, anyway, we got back to the house, and Jake proceeded to reveal to me a sacred vessel: this incredible vintage Racket Doctor T-shirt given to him by our mutual friend Kirk, who owns the vintage store For All To Envy. It’s perfectly worn-in, with an incredible illustrated graphic. (I’m doing my elaborate *Italian chef kiss* routine right now!) I am going to start a one-man campaign to get this one reissued. Running had its moment—tennis is next! They don’t call it love for nothing, or whatever!

Photograph courtesy of the authorial figure Chris Black.