Over 30 years ago in another country I spent many December afternoons watching teenage tennis players struggling in the winter sun. The players were gifted, the tournaments were medium-sized. Newspapers might send a reporter on the final day. Spectators might stumble in and watch a set. Prize money was enough to help the winner survive another few weeks.
But for the players it was heaven. It was a court, a contest and ranking points. It was the building of their games, a possible start of a reputation and perhaps a stepping stone. Ten years later one of them won Olympic bronze.
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