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Vitas Gerulaitis: In Memoriam

Vitas practiced his weaknesses for hours on end: the second serve, cocaine. This week’s writing challenge: describe his hair. The result, a failure: lion locks Lithuanian in its riding of the rolling level underneath it within it surfers girls waves omg dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon* I want to touch it see it live again please live please […]

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Li Na, China

On Painting Li Na: Some comments below taken from Debra Di Blasi’s emails to me: “It’s a bit socialist-art style, which I kind of like. (We have quite a bit of Vietnam and China socialist-style posters, prints and statues, so it was not a big leap.)” “The paper, by the way, is unbleached mulberry, which […]

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Steffi Graf and Mark Rothko

I picture her alone before a late Rothko painting, his darkening palette. Steffi’s favorite color was black. Rothko’s floating color field, “a universe for viewers they do not have in the real world.”  Black a type of protection, a barrier against stalkers, reporters, celebrity, noise. Black a tunnel, a cave, a hole, a portal.  The […]

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Margaret Court, LGBTQ+

Margaret Court, the Aussie Amazon, did sprints in the sand and lifted weights when workouts for “ladies” were a dirty word. On first encountering her, Martina Navratilova said what so many women felt: “Margaret amazed me with her size and strength.” Nicknamed “The Arm” for her power overhead (the serve, the smash) and incredible reach […]

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Ash Barty’s Fist

A young girl asks her mother: “How do you know if you are going to die?” The mother answers: “When you can no longer make a fist.”* Ash Barty’s advice to self: have fun be nice if no fun no tennis if not nice no purpose no spiritual . . . ask Evonne G. if […]

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Percy Shakespeare, “The Tennis Player”

Tennis invented so that women and men could play together. Conversation, competition . . . The development of women’s fashion, the body freed from Victorian hoop skirts so it might chase down more balls. Legs for running or for showing off? Feminist or feminine? Traditional or Daring? Married or single? Beautiful or plain? The woman […]

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Tennis or Art: A Self-Portrait, by Michael Newberry

I was 20 and holed up in a hotel room in Frankfurt, Germany contemplating my future. I was torn between two really good career options: to continue being a pro-tennis player (I was beating guys top 100 in the world) or give everything I had to my art. The week involved a tremendous amount of self-assessment, a […]

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Bianca Andreescu, Art by Scott Kish

Dynamism of a cross-court backhand. Power, pace, direction. Bianca’s arms muscles legs Scott Kish’s brushstrokes flying right and left black purple and white in lines and arcs and physics of movement. No photo no video might live so fully inside where the body was and where it’s going. Each wildly controlled black line an echo […]

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Haitian Women: Tracy Guiteau Paints Naomi Osaka Reads Tracy Guiteau

“I know our ancestors’ blood is strong we’ll keep rising,” Osaka said after committing her prize money to the relief effort after the earthquake in Haiti. An admirer of the Haitian American artist Tracy Guiteau’s work—Osaka commissioned the above portrait of herself–would Naomi admire as I do the stunning beauty of Tracy Guiteau’s recent work Hindsight, its three […]

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Leslie Turner Bowrey: Hand Sculptures

Mark on his paintings: What I found captivating about Leslie Turner was the way she unconsciously produced these shapes with her hands when she hit the ball. They are so beautiful to me. In a way they are like reifications of her concentration. Hand sculptures! And as sculptures they are forms that reflect her capacity to […]