Wednesday, June 26, 2013
A scary movie
There was a once a girl named Maria who hit hard and screamed loud. When she was just 17, she won the Wimbledon title and became an international star.
And there was once a girl named Michelle who hit hard, screamed loud, and double-faulted a lot. At age 14, she was called a major tennis phenom and it was predicted that she would do very great things.
Maria grew into a celebrated and poised young woman who won big tennis events, but got hurt, and then started to double-fault a lot. Michelle didn't become a star, but instead, faded into tennis obscurity.
Then, one day in June of 2013, nine years after Maria lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish, the two met on Court 2--the name, incidentally, of Wimbledon's former Graveyard Court. They hit hard and they screamed loud. Michelle played like people used to say she would some day play, and she hardly double-faulted. She even won the first set.
Everyone knows the plot of this movie: Maria pulls herself together and overcomes her opponent, who gradually fades away. But no one gave Michelle the plot outline! She just kept out-maneuvering Maria, and quickly recovering those few times that she made mistakes. She played like Maria does, and forced Maria into engaging in long rallies. She got into Maria's head. She stayed pumped up and filled with confidence, no matter what happened.
But there was another plot twist: Maria slipped and fell down three times, like so many before her at the 2013 event. It was shocking because Maria just doesn't fall down. The third time--toward the end of the second set--she sustained hip pain, and she had to have treatment. Michelle's momentum was stolen by whatever slippery grass thing was going on at the All England Club. And when an opponent's momentum is stolen, someone like Maria can get bandaged, get up, and take care of business.
But oops--Michelle didn't know about this part of the plot, either. She stayed on her feet, shadow-swinging and hitting serves, and not paying any mind to the medical drama around her.
When Maria returned to the court after almost ten minutes, she played better than she had the entire match. She became as aggressive as Michelle. This was "it," right? Maria would get past the pain and show Michelle how champions do it.
It looked that way when she saved four match points. But she couldn't convert either of the break points she had, and Michelle just kept kept taking it to her, and then--whoosh!--a ball flying from Maria's racket slammed into the net, and Michelle, on her fifth match point, had beaten the mighty Maria 6-3, 6-4.
Not intended for general audiences.