The Future is Mine
Kiran slid across the clay. His eyes were laser focused, as the racquet head brushed up against the hairy yellow ball. With his head perfectly still, Kiran twisted his upper body and followed through with the shot.
The heavy topspin ripped through the ad'-court and at the last moment dipped into the corner of the service box, catching his opponent off guard.
“Out!” The boy screamed.
“You have got to be kidding me, that was way in, I swear.” Kiran responded with outrage. It was match point for Kiran in the tie break of the third set; this point was crucial.
“I swear bro, you are such a hook, like of course you would call it out on match point. So, where is the ball mark?” Kiran thought he had the kid speechless.
The kid marched over to the corner of the service box all high and mighty. “See…see, this is the ball mark.”
“What? That is a ball mark from my serve, look how long and narrow it is.”
“Doesn’t matter what you think, I produced a mark, so the point goes to me.”
Kiran drooped his head in defeat. Both of his parents sat on the flimsy wooden grandstand behind the courts.
“C’mon Kiran… believe in yourself,” his mother called out in support.
Kiran clenched his fist with his racquet in his hand and raced toward the baseline to prepare for his next serve.
It’s alright, calm down. You have this, just believe... believe in yourself, Kiran!
The score was now six to five; this was Kiran's last opportunity to close out the match before the score would level out again.
Kiran held the ball up against his strings, rocked backward onto his right foot and then shifted his feet back together again, as the ball floated up through the air. Kiran dropped his shoulder from the trophy position, extended his elbow and reached up, as he pushed up with his legs and made contact with the ball.
Completely airborne, Kiran pronated, smashing his serve into the service box.
His opponent split stepped and predicted that the serve would go to his backhand. Though the kid underestimated the sheer velocity and spin of the ball. Without enough time to prepare with both hands on the handle, the kid resorted to a backhand slice.
Kiran watched as the kid let his top hand come off the handle and rushed the net, looking to take time away. Kiran pounced like a cat, taking the slice out of the air and flattening out the ball with his forehand into the other corner.
“Yes, I did it! Game, set and match.” The other kid chucked in racquet onto another court, before fleeing the scene.
Kiran pulled the bagger off the fence, dragging it with all his strength across the court, smoothing the clay out. As he encountered the balls, one by one, he picked them up and dusted them off with his white sport shorts. Kiran was covered from head to toe with clay. His white socks that went up to his knees were dirt brown. It looked like he had just come out of a dirt pit or quarry.
Kiran fetched his racquet; the balls were all in his pockets. The next lot of youngsters waited at the gate, waiting for him to get off.
Slipping past them with ease, Kiran rushed toward the tournament box, where the director was. He couldn't wait to report the score.
Kiran ducked under the grandstand, trying to take a shortcut. As he looked up, a tall boy of similar age stepped on Kiran's shoes, stopping him from moving.
Kiran fell onto his back, as he struggled to lift himself up.
"Punk. Consider yourself competition, kid." The boy lifted his shoe, before darting away, back into the crowd of people in the carpark.
This only made Kiran exude even more confidence after his win. Not only was it his first win at the Spring Valley Junior Classic, but he also got recognized. He was now on the radar, he was now a threat to the other players'. Competition, facades, trickery, predicting, determination, resilience, hard-work, fitness, patience and temper; tennis combined them all into one.
Kiran's passion evolved into love. It was that day, that Kiran vowed to become a professional tennis player, no matter what.