Just a quick calculation:
To closely capture a player's body in motion let's assume you need a 1.6x2,4m frame on the court - which is 100x the size of your sensor (making calculations pretty easy). So if you're 20m away from the player you need a 20m/100 = 200mm focal length to get the shot.
A tennis court is roughly 11x24m (36x78 feet) so if you're sitting close to the net a shooting distance of 20m might just be ok. If you're sitting further away or more to one side you may well need to cover a distance of 30m or even 40m. Which in turn would imply you'd need a 300mm or even 400mm to get a shot that tightly framed.
If you'd love to capture an upper body shot your target-frame shrinks to around half of the above (say 1.2x1.6m) which increases the focal length needed for that shot by another 50% (roughly). So you're now talking about a 300mm lens from 20m distance or a 600mm from 40m distance.
You can see that capturing sports even in "closed quarters" might need some pretty long lenses. Combine this with the need to shoot at fast shutter-speeds makes you (and me) wish to use a lens like the stabilized Sigma 120-300/2.8
. Unfortunately the price of this baby is past 2000 (USD, GBP, EUR)
So you might consider the non-stabilized Sigma 100-300/4.0 or a good 70-200 + 1.4x TC as an option. As always with Sigma lenses make sure you can give the lens back without prohibitive restocking fee should you get a decentered copy (see my sad story of the 100-300/4.0 here
). But when you can get a good copy, the (non-stabilized) 100-300/4.0 was tested with pretty good results (see there
Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews
, My Pictures
, My Photography Blog