10 Serving a love game

“We don’t have to meet tonight. We can meet another time,” Elise said into her phone, knowing very well that there might not be time at all, at least not here in Paris.
It was only twenty minutes after Amanda had finished her press conference of her third round match. She had lost against Martina Rodriguez in three tough sets. For last year’s finalist this was a devastating and embarrassing result. Amanda wouldn’t feel like having a nice evening with her, Elise had figured. Amanda probably would like to be alone or with her team to process the loss.

“Yes, another time maybe,” Amanda answered meekly.
It was the answer Elise had expected. She normally liked to have some time to herself after a bad result. However, she secretly had hoped for a different answer. She sure would have done everything possible to cheer Amanda up.
“That’s ok. I understand that.” She tried not to sound too disappointed.
“Thank you, Elise. I’ll call you, ok?”
“Of course,” Elise answered. “Will you stay in Paris for some days?”
“I don’t know.” Amanda sounded tired. “I don’t know.”

Elise guessed that Amanda had probably booked her hotel for a week at least. It might be possible that she would be around for another day or two. But would she call Elise? The dinner invitation seemed to have been Dan Metic’s idea anyway. Amanda’s coach probably just wanted to be polite after Amanda and Elise had played doubles together so successfully in Stuttgart. It had been a nice gesture and Elise had been happy to spend some time with Amanda. She was so delighted about the invitation that she had given Amanda the little bracelet in the locker room wishing her luck for the third round. Amanda had been wearing it during the match against Martina. It had not brought her luck at all. Elise wondered if Amanda had taken it off already or even thrown it away.

“Just give me a call whenever you feel like it,” Elise said. She just knew Amanda wouldn’t call.
“Yes, sure,” the Australian replied. “Good luck to you today.”
Elise felt the lump in her throat and swallowed hard. She herself had to play the third round match today. It wouldn’t be easy. She had to play Tamara Bepakova, a Top 10 player, she had played twice before but never beaten.
Elise thanked Amanda and hung up. She sat in the buzzing players’ lounge checking on the court she was due. The ongoing match was still in the first set. She’d probably had to wait another hour or two. A lot of time to think about Amanda, she realized and sighed.

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