Killer Instinct*

Waking from a three hour afternoon sleep, I crawl through to the television on switch it on.  Serena is losing.  She lost the first set 4 – 6 and although she is roaring and slamming down the serves, she’s not comfortable today.  

It’s 2 – 2 in the second set and Serena is serving and unable to get out of her service game. Sixth breakpoint to the other one who is called Bacsinszky and wearing blue.  She’s tiny next to Serena in leopard-print-fluorescent-orange.  

“She’s almost fighting to stay on the court right now,” Marion Bartoli says.  There’s something wrong with Serena – we haven’t been told what it is.  (“Illness” and “injury” apparently, John Inverdale tells us a bit later).

“She might be a wounded lioness but you know what trouble they can still cause,” the male commentator says, as Serena breaks back.  

I’ve come to the parental home for a rest.  This is easier said than done.  There are workmen all over the house, drilling and crashing around.  

All of a sudden, Serena has a breakpoint to lead 5 – 3.  And now she’s serving for the second set.  Come on Serena!  

“She talks complete rubbish all the time this girl,” Mum says.  

All French people have to have the same hat, it seems.  It’s a white Panama hat.  Some have navy ribbons and others have white ribbons.  

Serena takes the second set.  “She’s fighting her inner demons,” the commentator says.  She’s quite obviously not though: it’s her body that’s letting her down and through her amazing mental toughness, she’s pulling the match back.  With a roar and a fist pump, she’s 2 – 0 up in this third set.

“She’s just starting to miss those ground shots,” the commentator says, about Bacsinszky, who’s staring a double break in the face.  

It’s eighty two degrees in Paris and it can’t be far off that here, in the glass parental home.  The windows are sealed shut as they’re sloping and rain gets in if they’re opened.

Serena takes the game.  3 – 0.  “We’ll find out later, no doubt, how I’ll Serena was feeling in that first set.  The mental fortitude to battle through it really is something else,” the commentator tells us.  4 – 0 to Serena.

It’s a cloudless blue sky above the orange court.  Beautiful.

Serena breaks again.  5 – 0.

“I think we deserve a drink,” Mum says, getting up.  “Can you manage a glass of wine?” 

“Yes please,” I say.

Serena is serving for the match now.  “What a passing shot!” Marion cries.  Three match points.  Come on Serena. Two left.  She gets the next one.

6 – 0.  Serena takes the match.  “There is only one person who can do it in the entire world on the tennis court,” Marion says.

If you’re expecting any news of Seb: he’s got his big day of college-all-day today.   There was a mishap yesterday when he got confused about what day it was and went into college by mistake.   We’re not seeing each other this weekend as he has to start revising for his exams which are now a mere two weeks away.  I’m sad not to be seeing him but I’m physically and mentally exhausted.  Need to recharge and be looked after by my parentals for a few days.  And, of course, I want him to do well in his exams.

Attached photo is the fluffy monster watching the tennis yesterday.  He’s such a good boy: we’ve just put his eye drops in and he doesn’t make a fuss.

Right, must get going.  We’re off out for dinner, for the first time in ages.

Happy Thursday everyone!
*1997.  By Martina Navratilova and Liz Nickles.  Martina’s third novel featuring “murderous happenings in the world of tennis.”


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