The aesthetics of tennis

While the graphically inclined would no doubt find the layouts of other athletic playing courts and fields intriguing, there is something special about the tennis court: pleasingly symmetrical, relatively small in size, and, since they contain at most four contestants, never so crowded that the design can be smothered by action. One does not play atop a tennis court so much as inside it. The same basic design is utilized by women and men, young children and the elderly, ball-chasing buoyant players and hard faced, serious drillers.

"It's set up with particular parameters in mind—like there's a doubles alley; it's a very functional grid, and it's a grid that I connect with," Fletcher said.

"It's a geometry that has a story to it."

B. David Zarley on why artists love tennis.

The path traced by a tennis ball during a rally conjures triangles and arcs and other geometric patterns that really tickle that union of math and art.

And don't even get me started on Roger Federer. I suspect the reason he's so many people's favorite player is not because he's one of the greatest players of all time but instead for the sheer aesthetic perfection of all his strokes. There are dozens of YouTube videos of Federer hitting tennis balls in slow motion, and watching them triggers such strange pleasure sensations in the brain that they can't be called anything but pornographic.

[Since Federer is out of this Australian Open, the most beautiful stroke left in the men's draw is his countrymen Stanislav Wawrinka's one-handed backhand. Here are 70 backhand winners of his in HD. When he keeps his front shoulder closed and wings the ball down the line from the backhand side...lord have mercy.]