The world’s biggest names in tennis are due to collide this week with the kick-off of the French Open—that’s the major clay tournament for those still reading. Last year’s defending champs Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova will look to defend their titles using a full arsenal of shots.
The various racquet strokes employed by the tennis greats are a bit similar to the tools a PR professional uses for media relations. Here’s a comparison of the two admittedly very different professions’ box of tricks.
Forehand – press release
The most classic shot in tennis is much like a press release. It’s the old favorite for public relations professionals looking to get the job done. It’s also a must-have for tennis pro hopefuls.
American tennis player James Blake recorded the fastest ever forehand at 125 mph at the 2011 U.S. Open—still searching for a comparable press release, though Mitch Delaplane’s certainly is in the running.
Backhand – byline
The backhand is a formidable weapon in its own right. Roger Federer has perfected the art of the one-handed backhand, though Richard Gasquet is thought to have the most technically sound shot. It’s similar to a byline placement in that it can be equally as effective as the old standby approach, and it’s nice to switch things up.
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Overhead – call
A smash, or overhead shot, can go wonderfully right or horribly wrong. When a PR pro opts to pick up the phone to call a reporter, the result can be much the same. The reporter may find the call intrusive and irritating or might be so wowed with the material to do a story. Andy Roddick’s hardest overhead ever struck would fall into the wow category.
Slice – pitch
This quick, chop-like motion can surprise and delight. It’s a bit like a pitch in its quickness, brevity and ability to land results. The slice works when other shots fail and a pitch works well in situations a press release or media alert just wouldn’t suffice. Both can be hit or miss, just check out the Bad Pitch Blog or this video.
Caitlin Whitehurst is a public relations manager at Forza Marketing (formerly JZMcBride and Associates), a public relations and marketing firm in downtown Cincinnati. Email her at email@example.com.