The Ball is Back in the Court for Rafael NADAL and Andy Cheung

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many activities to a standstill, and for sportsmen around the world, the very idea of not training or competing is unimaginable. Sports came to an abrupt halt in 2020 with no end in sight. Sports is not something you can transfer to an online platform and do virtually and expect to get the same adrenaline pumping. Muscles need to be out there moving, training, pushing for the limits.

Sportsmen all over the world missed the feeling of their feet hitting the ground, their hands gripping a racquet, their arms slicing through water, the texture of chalk on their palms. They missed exploring their physical challenges and competing with their peers to get beyond their comfort zone. Mostly they missed their fans cheering for them at the playing field.

2021 has been a little kinder and parts of the world are slowly opening up, albeit with caution and trepidation of yet another outbreak.

Diehard sports fans are also eager to have sports return to their lives again and so are enthusiastic sports photographers. Capturing live action in a single shot and being able to transmit the excitement and tension of the moment is a skill that cannot be replaced by taking a shot of your placid armchair while quarantined in your living room. Sports photographers are slowly returning to the sports scene as well. Government hotel quarantine restrictions for travellers have put an additional challenge on covering international events and made it very trying and tedious for them. Many have found themselves having to miss some of the major global sports events this year.

Keeping His Eye on the Ball

Andy Cheung from ArcK Photography is a professional sports photographer who specialises in tennis. He has been on the sides of the courts all over the world for more than 12 years photographing more than 20 Grand Slam Championships and other tennis events worldwide.

Andy has won numerous awards and he won in two consecutive years the prestigious 2017 and 2016 AIPP NSW Sport Professional Photographer of the Year Award. Andy now works as the official photographer of UK Tennis Magazine. He is accredited for Tennis Grand Slam Championships as well as other ATP/WTA tournaments for 13 years.

Andy Cheung - Rafael NADAL of Spain at the 2019 Australian Open Tennis Championship Day 7  Match at Melbourne Park Tennis Centre, Melbourne, Australia. 20 Jan 2019. Arck Photography, Feature story by Brilliant-Online

Andy - Rafael NADAL of Spain at the 2019 Australian Open Tennis Championship Day 7

Match at Melbourne Park Tennis Centre, Melbourne, Australia. 20 Jan 2019.

(©Andy Cheung/ArcK Images/ Tennis Magazine/Getty Images)]

The 3 Ps in Sports Photography

For Andy, sports photography is not about being quick with his finger and hoping to get that frozen-in-the-air moment shot. It is not about having some secret formula either. Persistence, if anything, is what he leans on. And with the experience of the pandemic, that has become key to survival - Patience, Persistence, Perseverance.

Perhaps that is what budding sports photographers need to inculcate. The 3 Ps. You need to keep returning to the sports scene and risk many shots knowing that none may turn out the way you want, and sometimes the very shot you want comes only after hours of waiting, or even after a whole day of being baked in the sun you return with nothing satisfactory. It simply means you return again the next day, with camera and tools in tow, a rested and fed body, ready to start again.

The Story Behind the Lens