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04 January 2009 @ 10:05 pm
DEUCE [one]: (tennis, andy roddick)  
Deuce
Rated PG-13, features Andy Roddick & James Blake
Part One
Love can be found in the most obscure places, maybe it's been right in front of your face the entire time. The story of Olivia Whitford and Andy Roddick ultimately has a happy ending but the road paved to it is anything but. Even if what you've been searching for isn't too far away, sometimes it takes a while for you to even see it.

***

Olivia Whitford took a deep breath and glanced around the tunnel as if it would give her some sort of guidance. The referee was talking but she wasn't really paying attention as she glanced at the back of Maria Sharapova's head. She's going to murder me, man.



"Have a good game, ladies." was all she heard as she walked down the stairs and out of the tunnel. This is what she'd been waiting for all her life.

She barely recognized the roar of the crowd as they walked to their chairs and she pretended for a split second that some of that was for her. It's not like any of these people knew who the fuck she was. How could they, she was just a big unknown.

Hopefully that'd change tonight.

First round of the US Open. Arthur Ashe Court. Under the lights.

Fifteen minutes later, Olivia took a small drink from her water and walked to the end of the court, grabbing some balls along the way. She smoothed her dress and sighed.

Alright, Sharapova. You may kill me tonight but dammit if you're not going to have to work for it.

She launched an 119 mile-an-hour ace and softly smiled. Here we go.

***

Olivia closed her eyes and let out a scream that echoed off the walls of the locker room. She was sure somebody in China heard it. She leaned back on the bench and sighed. She was still shaking and she couldn't stop grinning and just.

That did not just happen. There's no way. I'm a fucking lunatic and I'm dreaming and.. Jesus, I'm going to puke.

There was a knock on the door and it opened slightly. "Liv, you decent?"

She glanced down at herself, still in her bra. "Oh, uh.. hold on."

She threw a shirt on and quickly changed into a pair of track pants. "I'm good, Jon."

The door opened and a middle-age man walked in, his smile broadening when he saw her. He didn't say anything as he walked to her and picked her up, hugging her as he swung her around. "Olivia fucking Whitford."

"I know!"

He sat her down and hugged her again, shaking his head, not quite sure if he believed it yet. "Damn. You played so good, Liv. So fucking good."

"I don't know. I got lucky."

"Yeah. But you kicked ass."

Olivia broke away from his embrace and glanced up at the coach she'd had for all the 15 years she'd held a racket and knew this moment meant just as much to him as it did to her. "Couldn't have done it without you, Jonny." She said as she hugged him again.

"Alright, enough of this mushy stuff. You have a press conference in five minutes."

"The best one yet."

Jon laughed as he opened the door. He leaned against and smiled back at her. "I'm proud of you, Liv."

"Thanks."

***

"Olivia, it was a tight match. You were down 3-1 in the second set and had to claw your way back to even it up. Do you think that gave you the momentum for the third set?"

Olivia cleared her throat and smiled slightly as she leaned into the microphone. "I don't know. I just pretty much knew that I had nothing to lose and that if I just played at the level I know I'm capable of than I could maybe make something happen. I was really happy to get that break at 2-3 to even it up let alone to get it again at 5-4 so it just kind of seemed to snowball from there, yanno? I was serving really well and making some incredible shots.. trying my best to attack her backhand and it just gave me a lot of confidence. I think after winning the second set, I gave myself a shot of actually winning this thing."

"Maria's serve seemed to falter a little in the third set, not a lot of first serves. You attacked a lot of those second serves and got a lot of free points. Think that was what won the match for you?"

"Yeah, absolutely. I think it was 3-2 when she didn't have a single first serve and I was able to get the break and she was never the same after that. I don't know. I think the crowd was behind me a little more too, I think they sensed that I could do it and maybe it's 'cause I'm an American and first Open and all that but I felt them behind me a lot more in that third set and I think maybe that nerved her a little."

"What was it like for you when you were serving for the match? Were you nervous or did you just want to end it now?"

Olivia took a sip from her water and smiled. "A little of both. I knew if I had a horrendous service game and she happened to get a break, than my chances were a hell of a lot slimmer, yanno. Obviously." She paused. "But I knew I could do it. I got those aces and I just felt it. I was nervous as hell, clearly, but I also knew that I could finish it off."

"What was the experience like for you?"

Olivia swallowed and took a moment before answering, wondering if she really had words for this. "Um, it was.. magical. Cliche, I know, but just really amazing. My parents brought me here as a kid to watch Andre Agassi win in '94 and it changed my life. I think it was then that I really began to take tennis seriously and to consider it as something to actually do with my life, so walking out there tonight and to not only play but to win is just everything. I don't know if I really have words for what tonight's meant to me."

***

"Those were the gayest words to ever come of your mouth. It was really magical and it changed my life and blah blah blah."

Olivia laughed and punched her sister on the arm. "Shut up, France!"

"I'm serious!" Frances replied, smiling.

"By the way, everyone back home could hear you screaming."

"You were kicking the defending champion's ass. What kind of sister would I be if I weren't the loudest one cheering?"

"Right. The fact that it was Maria had nothing to do with it."

Frances shrugged. "I don't like her, what can I say?"

"That's 'cause you're a bitch."

"Does it make me more of a bitch if I don't deny it?"

"Yes."

"Hmm." Frances paused. "Oh well." She glanced at the clock beside her and stifled a yawn. "Alright, champ. It's almost midnight. I need my beauty sleep and you need.. sleep."

"You're a funny one, yanno." Olivia replied, tossing the remote to the floor and throwing her comforter over her as she laid onto the pillows. "Wake me up at 7."

"Will do." Frances said as she opened the door. "Hey, Liv?"

"Yeah?"

"You're my hero."

"You're so gay." Olivia laughed.

Frances giggled. "Sweet dreams."

Olivia smiled in the darkness and closed her eyes, wondering if she'd get even an hour of sleep. Things had calmed a lot since the press conference, even if she'd been fielding phone calls from reporters and Nike and Adidas and people back home in Indiana. She finally gave up and turned off her phone, deciding that she'd make Frances go through the voice mails when she was at practice in the morning.

Out of curiosity though, she picked up her phone from the nightstand beside her and waited as it powered up. She just had to know how many messages there were. Not even glancing at the welcome screen, she quickly push #1 and waited for the operator.

You have 43 unheard messages.

Holy shit.
Olivia laughed as she flipped the phone shut. Crazy.

She glanced at the phone again and smiled at the picture of her nephew staring back at her and squinted her eyes in surprise. She had a text message.

From Roddick
08/27/07 11:18 PM

look at you. superstar.


Olivia smiled and clicked the 'reply' button:

thank you. :D breakfast?

Ten minutes later:

8:00. we'll kill the bagel table.

 
 
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