Enfield Tennis Academy

Enfield Tennis Academy



Created by James O. Incandenza

Now run by Avril and Charles Tavis

Has been running for 11 years



Located on “the largest hill in Enfield”, E.T.A. is laid out as a cardioid, with the four main inward-facing bldgs. convexly rounded at the back and sides to yield a cardioid’s curve, with the tennis courts and pavilions at the center and the staff and students’ parking lots in back … the school’s maze of tennis courts lies now on what used to be the hill’s hilltop before the Academy’s burly cigar-chomping tennis-court contractors shaved the curved top off and rolled the new top flat…”

Ennet House lies downhill from ETA

Tunnels all throughout the academy leading to all grounds

“The Lung” covers the tennis courts, makes up a majority of certain underground tunnels when not in use

Wallace refers to many of the buildings as different parts of the body, such as the brain, heart, and lungs




First motto: “Te occidere possunt sed te edere non possunt nefas est” or “They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are quite a bit dicier”

Motto with Tavis: “The man who knows his limitations has none”

The old traditions of getting together as students and complaining about coaches, drills, exercises.  Constant competition between the students who are all in ranks above or below one another

Everyone has “aloneness” in common, kept as isolated as possible

The strategy of teachers and coaches is to make the kids hate them so that they turn to each other for support, turn to themselves so that they can be psychologically strong

“Buddy system” in which the younger kids are paired with older kids.  Teach them their experiences, help them with whatever they need, watch over them, be there for them

Drug usage and purchasing of urine is rampant at ETA

Lyle is the weight room guru who offers advice to students

Little kids go under the academy to clean out the tunnels




Players who do not go on to “the show” can stay behind as assistant coaches or “prorectors”, but they have to teach a class

The classes are very easy and require little to no effort




Classes, exercise, and tennis are very structured.  Very early exercises, tennis matches all of the time, and schoolwork, keeping the kids very tired and busy all of the time.  Used to strengthen them both physically and psychologically.


Importance of ETA


A large amount of the plot of the book goes on at ETA

Has many similarities to Ennet House.  Must psychologically beat oneself to be truly great at tennis.  Must beat “the substance” to be free from addiction.  

ETA is the single most important accomplishment in The Man Himself’s life. Denies the possibility that he is completely insane.