Someone asked recently why I was so apathetic lately about tennis. I guess I don’t watch much anymore on television, or talk about it, or go to see many tournaments in person, and my friend started noticing. Mainly because he doesn’t have anybody to joke around with at the tournaments, I guess.
As for me, and my disinterest as of late, I have thought hard about it and decided that there is a difference between merely watching tennis and playing it your whole life, which can be a pursuit and a passion in and of itself, and in having the lust for the sport to indiscriminately love watching any player or any match. Between being more than casually interested in it, following it, knowing who the players are, the strengths and weaknesses of their games, their career statistics…and in being completely, totally paralyzed the twenty-four hours before her match, unable to eat, think, concentrate, work, function…until she’s done, win or lose. You absorb every loss, exult contagiously in each win, you laugh with her, you cry with her, you take pride in her accomplishments to the extent that you are darn sure there’s no one on the planet who knows more about her, and that one teeny tiny tweak that could make her a champion, than you. When nobody can possibly tell you that she’s not going to make it to Number One.
When you dream about simply having a moment–one moment–with her, to yourself, away from the world. To give her the love that has grown, inside your heart, all of these years, cheering her.
This is what she has come to mean to you.
This is the void she leaves.