exploring the world of tennis . . .     
Off The Frame - A book by any other name

Strange to relate, the title of On The Line's popular story about Jez Bell is also the title of a book of tennis humour written by Alistair Higham and Ronald Carter. Here's an excerpt from the book:

The Trickster

You might have seen him play before,
Though he's getting rare these days,
And though his shorts are back in style,
He's from a different age.

He's no respect for racket trends,
"It's just a modern con",
But no-one really listens,
They think he's nearly gone.

With returns so weak and feeble,
His chances look remote,
But he'll dink it to you softly,
Then stuff it down your throat.
He'll wrap you on the wrong foot,
Turn you inside out,
Drop his shots precisely,
And listen, while you shout:

"I've never played this bad before!"
To those laughing at the side,
Unaware still at the rallies end,
You've been taken for a ride.

Because his craft is well concealed,
In a camouflaged disguise,
And when you're looking long and deep,
You'll find it short and wide.

"I'll give this crap old trickster,
A taste of modern stuff!",
But your semi-western passing shot's,
Not solved his double bluff.

You'll bob and weave, and duck and dive,
Yet he just seems to flow,
With lots of time to choose his shots,
While you're a yard too slow.

So you madly sprint across the court,
In a frenzied show of power,
While the ball just floats the other way,
At fourteen miles per hour.

"You jammy dog!", you cry out loud,
As his third lob hits the line,
But you're only sobbing quietly,
When he's done it twenty times.

And when the match is finished,
And you can't believe you lost,
You'll want to smash your rackets,
Not matter what they cost.

You'll not feel any better,
When you're told by a so-called mate,
That he hasn't had his racket strung,
Since nineteen eighty-eight.

excerpt from OFF THE FRAME by Alistair Higham/Ronald Carter (with permission)