Interview: Bill Bishop “Going to the Net”

Going to the Net: Winning The Psychological Game of Tennis (and Life) is a must read for every tennis player who wants to improve. Going through the book, I could see my own experiences reflected and was happy to jump on the smooth ride to self-discovery. It became clear that understanding tennis from the psychological perspective —how and why we play—holds the key to ultimate success on and off the court.

Here are a few words from the author Bill Bishop:

CG: What is your earliest memory of playing tennis?
My parents were tennis players. I used to watch them play from the sideline, until one day at 8 years old, my mom said to my dad “Why don’t you hit with Bill?” We rallied awhile until on impulse I came to the net and hit a volley, winning the point. That changed everything. From that day on, they treated me like a real tennis player. I also knew that the best strategy for me was come to the net. That was a lesson I also applied to my life.

CG: What is your fondest tennis memory?
Teaching tennis to kids at a resort in Canada called The Inn at Manitou. It was a wonderful experience. I was 20. It was a beautiful setting on a lake, and it was the first time I really started to think about the psychology of tennis. With the kids it was fascinating to see their personality emerge within minutes of stepping on the court. I realized you could learn more about a person by playing tennis with them for an hour, than you might learn about them in ten years as a casual acquaintance.

CG: Why is playing tennis important to you?
Three things: 1. Exercise; 2. The social aspect: 80% of the people I know today I met on the court; and 3. Tennis is one of the best ways for me to get to know myself. I then use what I learned about myself on the tennis court, and apply it to the rest of my life. That’s why tennis is so important to me.

CG: What spurred you to write this book?
I have written six other books, mostly about business and marketing. About five years ago I got the idea to write Going To The Net. I had read Inner Tennis back in the seventies, and while it had great insights I still use today, I always felt it could have gone further. I like to think of Going to the Net as the sequel that goes a much deeper into what happens to people psychologically on the tennis court.

CG: How much of the book is your personal experience vs. a composite?
It’s all based on my personal experience; of course, the names were changed to protect the innocent. It’s my personal milestones, those times on the court that forced me to confront certain realities and be honest with myself. I can chart my personal growth based on those milestones that I experienced on the tennis court.

CG: What are your favorite tennis books?
My favorites are The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey, and Open by Andre Agassi. Agassi was so honest and stripped down. It is the best sports autobiography I’ve ever read. He really came to grips with his inner demons and that’s why he was so successful.

CG: Are you a ball or a racquet?
I’d like to say I’m a racquet because I want to think I’m in control, but really I’m the ball. Like in life, if the wind blows, or something else unexpected happens, and the ball lands out, there’s not much we can do about it. So yes, I am definitely the ball.

I’d like to say I’m a racquet because I want to think I’m in control, but really I’m the ball.

CG: What should be the most important takeaway for readers?
The tennis court is a great place to fight virtual battles and still come out alive with a lesson learned about yourself. By focusing on your psychological responses to tennis, and using these insights to grow as a person, you can achieve much better results on the court. You will also enjoy the game more, which after all, is the whole point.

To find out more about Bill’s book Going To The Net, visit the book’s website at You can read, or listen to, the first three chapters, for free. You can then purchase the book or ebook through Amazon.


BB Small PhotoBill Bishop is a writer, entrepreneur, and life-long tennis enthusiast. He has been playing competitive tennis for more than 50 years. He was a tennis professional at some of the world’s leading tennis clubs and resorts for five years during the 1970s. Bill became interested in writing Going To The Net when he realized that most tennis players have never been adequately instructed on the mental and psychological aspects of the game. To reach Bill call 647.436.8829 x101 or e-mail: