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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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Four Americans at the Little Rock Challenger, Art by Shawn Adair

They come to Little Rock from all over the world: Australia, Ecuador, The Bahamas, Canada, Portugal, Argentina, Colombia, Japan, India, Barbados, Chile, the Dominican Republic. They come to fight for points. Ryan Harrison, recovering from elbow surgery, must arrive five days early and win a Wild Card tournament of 32 players just to get into […]

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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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Djokovic’s GOAT Win Over Nadal, Art by Phetru

“Me trying to cover the court,” Djokovic says after seeing Phetru’s Shrinking Hype of him playing—and beating–Rafa in the 2021 French Open, arguably the greatest win of his career. “I’m dying at these,” says another. “Warm and fuzzy,” says one. Small, smaller, and smaller still. Phetru’s Shrinking Hypes a laughing gas way back machine to […]

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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 […]

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Team Luke: In Memory of Luke Siegel

This painting of Tim Siegel and Luke is called “My Boy” and is painted by Jeffrey Sparr. It is Tim’s favorite image of he and Luke together. Tuesday nights at the University of Arkansas I play tennis with the greatest group of players imaginable: talented juniors, male and female, former Razorback players, a bunch of […]

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Seven Ways of Looking at Dominic Thiem’s Backhand

After Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” When Zeus throws a lightning bolt, his easy power is bestowed upon him by god-like men or man-like gods from the ancient world. Thiem’s one-hander is modern. As with lightening, all the electrons/muscles fire at different times, lighting up the kinetic chain of his body: […]

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Tennis in the Year 3040

La Tenista 3040 is prepared to play in two realms at once: 1) the year 3040 2) the mythological past. The Year 3040: A warming planet, biological weapons, alternate realities, cyborg cities . . .  La Tenista 3040 is prepared. Like those insects crawling over the melting of time in Salvadore Dali’s Persistence of Memory, La […]

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Hiding Inside the Baseline, The Story of Bobby Blair

Bobby Blair’s Hiding Inside the Baseline is the compelling, must-read story about a young boy from a poor family—incredibly supportive mother, alcoholic father—who begins working towards becoming one of the top tennis prospects in the country. Hard enough, right? Add to this challenge Bobby’s growing awareness, from the age of 13 years old, that he […]