It’s not really tennis except that we play on a tennis court, with tennis rackets, using tennis balls. It’s really more that we play jungle-ball. Batting the ball tirelessly. Back and forth. Back and forth. A lot of my shots would be considered strategic if I actually had intended to make them.
It’s disconcerting to play a rich man’s sport in a poor man’s country. The courts are worn, the balls are tired, and the ball boys shuffle around in their plastic flip-flops. The players are almost universally white foreigners, including resident Lebanese. Once in a while there’s an Asian face in addition to my own; one of the Korean photolab families perhaps, or the Chinese businessmen. Yet I feel more comfortable here – less guilty? – than if we were playing at one of the posh hotels