The Paris Review

Orange Crush

Photo: Krbo, Flickr

Late in the nineteenth century, William Renshaw, an Englishman famed for his tennis game—he’d won six Wimbledons in a row—found himself with a dilemma. He was in sunny Cannes on vacation, planning to make some money on the side by giving tennis lessons. Back then, the game was played exclusively on grass; anything else was heresy. But when Renshaw examined the court at his disposal, he could see that the grass had grown brown and thin beneath the

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