THE LAST SHIRT

 

The Basement Under Boris Becker’s Sitting Room

The smell of grass drifts quickly away into the catacombs. Here function rules space. Cable looms on the walls, endless grey corridors, bare direction signs. But tradition drops through the ceiling, and I like the transfer zone under the Centre Court in Wimbledon. Today I see it for the last time. 2012, July 6th, it is a parting day. I worked as a tennis umpire for ten years. 35 countries, over 1000 matches, uncounted memories. All this Рit ends today. The seats over me get empty, further ahead the Scottish player, 4th on the world ranking list,  provides the press with the common set phrases in a washing machine-sized interview cabin, and wistfulness is already dragging over me. Deep inside, the most important tennis place of the world is an unsightly machine made of concrete. Few know that a soul lives here. I will miss its raw charm. This is the shirt I wore that day.

 Timo

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