after Carlos Fuentes’ La Muerte de Artemio Cruz
My father’s bare feet, the borderlands. I could beat anyone at marbles. Practice, practice, practice, yet those other kids’ voices never stopped: “spic,” “spic,” “spic,” “wetback.” Grandma said just picture those white folks in their underwear. In LA we lived in a kind of suburbs unknown to the Gringo world. Pancho, Pancho. Pancho, Pancho. Everyone of us is Pancho, so I beat the shit out of the best players in the world like Hoad and Rosewall year after year. I hated them all, especially Trabert. Played Trabert night after night after he won all the amateur tournaments like Wimbledon and the US Open in 1955. He thought I was beneath him, a high school dropout, a lazy Mexican. You better get used to losing, I said. I even beat Laver in my 40s after he won the grand slam. As Laver put it, Gonzalez “gets meaner every time I play him.” Was I the best player to never win Wimbledon? Best player’s true. Never winning Wimbledon’s bullshit. If I played it every year, I would have won it eight times. Played Kramer’s pro tour instead. Sued him, too. He never paid me what I was worth. I was handsome, powerful, dark, mysterious. Even the scar on my face attracted fans. “I won fifty points on my serve, and fifty points on terror.” That’s what Kramer said. Took Trabert out to the woodshed every night.
Artist Bio: A retired Colombian naval officer, Leonardo Luque earned his fine arts degree in 2012 from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota, Colombia. A high-ranking senior tennis player in men’s 60 singles, Leo has drawn all his life and is especially interested in the beauty and motion of the human body. Over the past year, Leonardo Luque has created original portraits of numerous players in action for “Tennis Players as Works of Art,” including Ken Rosewall, Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, and John McEnroe. He currently resides with his family in Boca Raton, Florida.