Tennis Fever usually presents in annual cycles. For most sufferers this
starts in late June but more acute forms can start a few weeks earlier. Some
poor souls experience it all year round.
It can present in one or more of all the known strains – Participatory,
Atrium and Al Fresco.
Participatory Tennis Fever
Until quite recently this strain was easy to detect. In the 1920s and 30s early signs of this form of
the fever included popping unannounced through French windows and asking “anyone
for tennis” in a posh accent. Fifty years later early detection could be
diagnosed by the wearing of wrist and head sweat bands regardless of whether the
sufferer is sweating or not. Early detection is not so easy these days. Limps,
bruises and strains are signs but the fever is usually well advanced by this
stage and all too often beyond successful treatment.
Atrium Tennis Fever
Atrium (Living Room) Tennis Fever is relatively easy to detect. Sufferers will
sit for hours watching the television. Some, when play has been cancelled due to
rain, will even watch repeats of “classic” tennis matches. In recent times
sufferers with a severe case will also arrange for results to be sent to them
via text message. Those with wide screens may also experience severe neck ache.
Al Fresco Tennis Fever
More acute cases of Tennis Fever feel a need to watch tennis played live. In the
early stages patients experience an overwhelming desire to eat strawberries and
cream washed down with copious amounts of Pims and Barley Water at any cost.
Some will become so entwined that they do not even notice their surroundings.
They will sit for hours in the rain just waiting for a glimpse at some tennis.
More severe cases will also sing along with Cliff Richard (the fever can
actually suppress the natural instinct to run).
Even slight cases of any of the strains can lead to cliché tongue. Screams of
“the ball was in”, “new balls please” and of course “YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS” are
often heard during the height of the outbreak.
Unfortunately there is no known cure for Tennis Fever. Although it can last 2
weeks it is normally over in 7 to 10 days at most. The last confirmed outbreak
in the UK lasting the full 14 days was in 2016.