How the tutelage of a Cuban émigré helped create the modern game

Written by: on 20th April 2017
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“Kid, you aren’t getting another game,” Rod Laver said to his 12-year-old opponent. The Rocket had goofed around and gone down 0-2 to the precocious pre-teen from Buffalo, NY, but he wasn’t smiling anymore. When you’re 12 and the Rocket says those ominous words to you during an exhibition match in your hometown, chances are you’re going to believe him, right? Not when you’re a 12-year-old named Jimmy Arias, and you’re armed with a forehand unlike any that had been seen before. In that case, you win three more games, and lose a close 7-5 set to the 11-time major champion. Then, if you’re Arias, you walk over to your father and hear him say, “You played all right.” “That was the closest he came

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