The centre court: the temple of tennis 

Every child that starts playing tennis dreams about his hero and just for a moment fancies triumphing in arguably the most important tennis tournament: Wimbledon. The center court of the All England lawn tennis and croquet club is a place where history was made, many brave and extremely talented athletes met their destiny there. As a boy I remember seeing those giants handling racquets with a diameter of just 85 square inches and a weight close to 500 grams (okay that was mainly Sampras😅) hitting bullets traveling at more than 200 km/h. Some stories are fairytales: Goran Ivanisevic winning the trophie after multiple attempts and all the drama surrounding him and his unpredictable personality. Others are broken dreams like the one of Goran’s rival that day: the elegant serve and volleyer Patrick Rafter. Or Tim Henman’s, supported by the whole UK but never being able to go past the semifinals. Or Andy Roddick’s, being guilty of playing during the tiranny of the mighty Federer. When I walk in the huge rooms of the old mansion of my family I feel the weight of history on my shoulders. I wonder if I will be able to keep up with my ancestors. Likewise when I walked on center court (not as a player unfortunately, or fortunately for the spectators) for the first time I felt the weight of the history of tennis and this only happens in special places. The court is actually very intimate compared to other main arenas like the Philippe Chatrier in Paris due to a proper dimension and the combination of the fixed and the retractable roof.  I can’t help but thinking about an extract from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If…” inscribed above the entrance to Wimbledon’s Centre Court,” If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same”. I think those two imposters ultimately donate a special aura to a place. I was watching Federer against Mischa Zverev but in a daydream I imagined the colors fading, the clarity of vision degrading to the images of the old 480p videocameras and i saw Agassi, Sampras, Krajicek, Ivanisevic and Rafter battling in the quest for glory. Have you ever visited a palace like Versailles and felt transported in an historical movie scene where a fabulous masked ball is taking place? Well that’s how I felt.

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