Tennis is the universal game
In the five years that I lived in Toronto, I visited the CN Tower exactly once.
I was with my family and during my first year in the T.O. I decided to take the elevator up this communications and observation tower, because visiting the CN Tower is something you do when your family visits you in a city you’ve only recently moved to. I didn’t really know the City of Toronto yet, but I did know the CN Tower, so this made sense.
The closest I ever came to making this $29.00 visit again was in attending five or six Jays baseball games over the ensuing four+ years—because unless you’re a tourist in Toronto, the CN Tower isn’t exactly worth it.
By comparison, this one visit to the CN Tower constitutes precisely as many times as I have visited the Old Colosseum and, well, I haven’t lived five years in Rome.
But I did visit Rome—once, in 2002—and headed to most of the typical landmarks: the Vatican. The Trevi Fountain. The Pantheon. The Arch of Titus. The Palatine Hill. I didn’t see them all, but I saw many.
I’m not alone, of course.
By definition, tourists don’t know many things about the cities and countries they are visiting and a solution is often to follow travel guides’ recommendations. Maybe it’s not the perfect way to properly immerse yourself in a new country and culture, but you could do worse if your stay happens to be short. At least you’ll have visited the must-see places.
Maybe the locals don’t agree, but the locals also aren’t tourists. Living in a place often gives someone a sense of complacency; you don’t visit the CN Tower or go to the beach this weekend, because you literally could go any other weekend. But hey, you know about the best neighbourhood coffee place that tourists know nothing about because it’s not in their tourist guide.
All of which is to say that the beauty of a country is very much in the eyes of the beholder, and sometimes those of the tourists. The landmarks differ from place to place, and often the locals of a place don’t see the big fuss behind some tourist attraction.
But the same thing couldn’t be said of tennis, because tennis is universal. Whether they are tourists or locals, tennis fans will appreciate the sport. The playing surfaces and the countries may differ, but the sport remains the same. And this week, the tennis world is descending on Rome.
As fate would have it, my Tennis Connected colleague Nima Naderi is currently in the city but he will not attend the Internazionali BNL d’Italia Masters 1000 event; he’s leaving just before it starts after spending nine days in the city.
He loves tennis but this week, he had his tourist hat on.
Tennis & Travels is a new column that applauds the readers who do decide to combine business with pleasure. Because life is short, and you should travel and play tennis—maybe even do both at once.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG