When there isn‘t any tennis on TV to watch, there are other ways we can enjoy our favourite sport. One of those is by reading the latest tennis news on websites like ours, but there’s only so much news on any given day or week. We know many of our readers like to stay active, and enjoy a few games of tennis themselves, which is fantastic. That isn’t always possible however; especially in the winter months, when the weather closes the courts and it just isn’t any fun to be outside.
That’s where virtual entertainment steps in. We’ve been spoiled over the years by some fantastic tennis-themed video games. You could even argue that ‘Pong’, the first successful home video game ever made way back in 1972, was a tennis game. It certainly uses the principles of tennis, with a ‘ball’ being served and returned from one player to the other.
The technology behind video games has progressed a long way since then, and we’ve enjoyed some great games over the years, from the ‘Virtua Tennis’ series to the even-better ‘Top Spin’ series. We all got excited by the release of ‘Tennis World Tour 2018’ last year, but the rushed release meant that it came out less than 20% finished, and it’s subsequently been labeled one of the worst games of all time. For our money, ‘Top Spin 4’ has never been bettered, even though it’s now approaching ten years old. If you can find a working copy of it somewhere, it’s still a lot of fun to play.
Speaking of putting our money on things, that’s another route open to tennis fans; if you like to play online slots, there are several well-respected ones out there with tennis themes, and they’re well worth a visit if you’re planning a visit to a virtual casino. Here are some of the best ones we’ve found.
3. Centre Court
No prizes for guessing where this slot game took the inspiration for its title from! The slot doesn’t have an official tie-in to Wimbledon, but with a green court as the slot’s background and all the players wearing their best Wimbledon white, it’s a safe assumption to say that the home of world Tennis serves as our location here. This is a little older than the other slots we’re going to mention, and as slot games have progressed a long way in the last ten years it’s light on features and animations by comparison, but it’s still a good looking slot with some generous bonus features. The key to success in the slot is landing sufficient numbers of tennis balls on the reels; that triggers a ‘free spins’ feature which can multiply the value of winning lines by a factor of up to five. There are also some authentic tennis sound effects to add to the atmosphere.
2. Tennis Champions
This is a more recent tennis-themed slot game, which was released in 2017. As a result, it’s much better looking than Centre Court, even though it still contains the same spirit of simplicity. All the visuals are photo-realistic, with convincing representations of both male and female tennis players appearing on your reels as play progresses. Again, there are no official licenses, so don’t expect appearances by any players you know from real life, but that doesn’t take away from the experience of playing at all. This slot has a unique twist; every time you spin and don’t win anything, a ‘multiplier meter’ increases in value, so next time you hit a winning line it’s worth more. That’s a generous touch.
1. Tennis Stars
The undisputed champion of the tennis-themed slots is a slot game called ‘Tennis Stars’, by a company called Playtech. This is the best-known and most-played of all the tennis-themed slots, and is popular enough to be featured on major online slot websites; Rose Slots being a prime example, where you can find it by scrolling through their huge collection. What makes ‘Tennis Stars’ better than all the rest is the fact that it gives you the chance to play a virtual game of tennis! Landing three or more of the good-looking slot’s scatter symbols will take you through to a special bonus round. You can choose to play as a male or female player, and you have full control of shot selection as you do battle against the computer. Winning the game nets you an instant cash prize, and if you’re able to win by a convincing margin, the prize will be higher. In that respect, it’s just like playing a real game of tennis!
On top of that, ‘Tennis Stars’ also offers the most generous free spins feature of the three games we’ve looked at. Triggering the round awards you a cash prize of ten times your initial stake, plus fifteen free spins with a 3x multiplier active for the duration. Simply put, if your luck is in, you can win a lot of money!
Sadly tennis doesn’t attract the same number of games – either the video or the slot kind – as sports like football do. Fans of that particular sport are spoilt for choice with the range on offer to them, whereas the three titles we’ve mentioned are really all that’s out there in terms of quality offerings. While there are other gambling options out there with a tennis theme, they tend to be either digital scratchcards or virtual sports; i.e. they offer you the chance to bet on a virtual game of tennis. In our eyes, if you’re going to do that, you might as well bet on the real thing. There’s usually a game of tennis happening somewhere in the world.
The only way to convince developers to create more is to use them regularly; they’ll only supply if they can see that there’s demand! For that reason, if you do play slots occasionally, consider playing a tennis-themed one rather than your usual genre. It might just convince them to give us more. While we’re hoping for that, we’ll also hope that somebody finally comes up with a worthy successor to ‘Top Spin 4’ in the video game stakes, too.