I first heard about a proposed new tennis magazine earlier this year, and immediately understood the possibility it presented. Among the independent sports mags there are plenty about football and cycling and others about motorcycling, running and extreme sports. Tennis is a popular sport with a cultural and historical context and a high participation rate. Why not a magazine?
So here it is, the first issue of Racquet. The cover sets the tone; the thirties poster-style illustration of Yannick Noah (by Mads Berg) announces a smart, enjoyable magazine that sits well alongside the other indie sports titles.
Inside, too, is a familiar mix of reflection, history and passion with a nice line in tangential escape. The 70s and 80s tennis heydays are celebrated via fashion, ‘real’ tennis is explained, the Davis Cup is critiqued and the inherent elitism of tennis and tennis clubs acknowledged in a first-person piece. There are long-form pieces and pictorial pieces, illustration and photography are used intelligently throughout. An interview with Yannick Noah provides the ATP professional focus; unused tennis venue Forest Hills turns up as a music venue and a series of concert poster designs by Bill Sullivan; Craig & Karl illustrate a piece that brings together African-American sports icons Arther Ashe and Muhammad Ali.
It’s an impressive first issue that promises a healthy future. In the UK we tend to focus on tennis only every July for Wimbledon. Try extending your interest with this new magazine.