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Dear Slazenger, your rusting press
recalls those years of teenage stress
when competition was the name
and tennis was the only game.

When grip was firm and strings were taut
we learned the language of the court:
love and advantage, deuce and let
framed set and match across the net.

The summer bounce of tennis balls,
the ricochet of umpires’ calls;
I stroke you, and the past comes back -
a very satisfying thwack.

Though decades slide and cobwebs patch
your holes from one-too-many match,
I cherish our long fellowship
and still can’t dump you in a skip.