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Michael Chang, Tiananmen Square, and God

“The tanks came in on the middle Sunday” while Michael and his mother watched television: 300 dead, or is it thousands? Tomorrow Ivan Lendl, the world #1; tomorrow a lone Chinese man stops a line of tanks. At seventeen years old, Chang is 5’ 9,” 135 pounds, a speedy defensive baseliner without enough firepower to hurt Lendl. Chang is Chinese-American (both parents Chinese) and deeply religious (reads the Bible every night). “God’s purpose,” Chang says, “was for me to win the French Open the way it was won” painful leg cramps worsening “God’s purpose” stay the course eat bananas gulp water “God’s purpose” try anything underhanded serves schoolyard tactics moonballs lobs sudden winners out of nowhere “God’s purpose” cramps prayers Chang not unlike Odysseus shipwrecked desperate swimming exhausted when he reaches shore and the Greek goddess Athena closes his eyes. Would Odysseus have fallen asleep without Athena? Would Chang have won the French Open without God?

Artist Bio: Leonardo Luque, a retired Columbian naval officer, earned his fine arts degree in 2012 from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota, Columbia. A highly ranked Columbian player in the ITF world rankings for men’s 60 singles, Leo has drawn all his life and is especially interested in the beauty and motion of the human body. After traveling through China and Panama, he settled down with his family in 2014 in Boca Raton, Florida.

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This work was first published in Tennis Players as Works of Art with the National Senior Men’s Tennis Association.

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