Cramm and his partner were leaning on their rackets and chatting near the opposite ground line when we reached their court. They lifted their rackets in salute, and without further preliminaries Cramm brought the ball into play. Cramm's partner played nice, steady tennis, but his ground strokes had little length or force, he had an aversion to volleying and his backhand was of the corkscrew variety which had gone out of fashion years earlier.
Han's plan worked perfectly at the beginning, and its success so encouraged us that we played our best tennis. We treated Cramm's partner to a mixture of our longest and hardest ground strokes, little chips to half court, cute drop shots and a shameless series of lobs. At the end of the first round of serves we led 3-1. Then for a couple of games Cramm seemed to go berserk. He was all over the court and blasted the ball so hard that, when we managed to reach it, it nearly knocked the rackets from our hands. He quickly won two games, but while he was doing so our target, relieved of all responsibility except the return of service, wandered aimlessly from one side of the court to the other. Finally, he laid a hand on Cramm's arm and, to judge from the effect it had, gave him a stern lecture on the sin of stealing the game from one's partner. Although he wore a glowering expression for the rest of the match, Cramm restrained himself from further interference.
Hans ended the match with a hard smash which grazed Cramm's partner's leg. We pounded each other on the back and jumped the net to meet the defeated pair. Cramm's partner bowed to us and shook hands.
"I have enjoyed the game very much, young gentlemen," he smiled and walked off in the direction of the locker room. Cramm accompanied him to the door, then returned to us.
"If my word counts for anything around here," he almost shouted at us "you two won't disgrace this place again."
We could only gape at him.
"You listen," he roared. "Tennis is his only relaxation. He plays it for fun. He stopped here just to have a pleasant workout on the new courts. And you two baby elephants make him jump all over the place, so you can claim an idiotic victory. I could strangle you."
"Now wait," Hans started indignantly, "We just played as well as we could. We won't throw any match, not even for one of your fancy ambassador friends."
"Ambassador?" Cramm stared at us. "You're stupider than I thought. You've just made a fool of His Majesty, the King of Sweden."