The Czech, Jan Kodes, Hears Whispers: “Beat the Russian. Please, Beat the Russian.”

With Soviet Union Forever! the propoganda posters shout. Propaganda Posters = Truth, the truth of propaganda posters. Jan Kodes the “son of an independent businessman—reject application to Secondary education!” Eventually the Czechs soften their communist principles. Kodes witnessed the result outside his window in August, 1968: a parking lot full of Russian tanks. Kodes one of those tennis players (a “bourgeois decadent pastime”) with no real weaknesses. He hits every shot well, triumphs twice in the clay wars of attrition at Roland Garros in 1970, 1971. Before his 1973 Wimbledon final against Alexi Metreveli, all his Czech friends plead in whispers: “Beat the Russian.” “Please, beat the Russian.” Military officers during the match: “Well, sir, what are going to do with Kodes?  He is beating Metreveli!” Kodes’ biggest worry: If he loses the Wimbledon final, his countrymen will think the Russians ordered him to lose. His biggest joy after he wins: a hug from a teenaged Martina Navratilova.

Artist Bio: Leonardo Luque, a retired Colombian naval officer, earned his fine arts degree in 2012 from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Bogota, Colombia. A highly ranked Colombian 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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