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"How do you mean, 'challenge'?" he asks.
"The challenge system. You know, challenge another team that's just won, if you're next in line. Or if two guys are playing singles and you think you can play at their level, you can challenge them to doubles. Doubles take precedence. But you gotta pick on somebody in your class or it's bad form."
The interrogator has settled on the bench. "Where you play?" he says.
"Back East. Usually on clay."
"Boy, I never even seen a clay court. I'd love to play on one some day. But, hey, these are good. They've been resurfaced this year. Not too fast, not too slow. Plexicoat, or Plexipave, something. The best public courts in Denver. You see good tennis here, too. Some of these guys are terrific."
A cry from two courts down on the other side of the walk diverts the interrogator's attention.
"That's my partner," he says, jumping up. "We're on. Hey, listen. Good luck."
"Yeah, you, too."
The visitor settles back on the bench in time to see a boy of about 12, shirtless, wearing basketball shoes without socks or laces, chase a ball across three courts, directly through the line of play. Their games suspended, the court occupants follow the boy's progress without comment. A man with a goatee waiting at the fence beside an Adidas bag that has a built-in racket holder shakes his head and sucks his teeth audibly. Like the visitor, he is in tennis whites.
A young couple moves down from the other side of the goateed man to where the visitor is sitting. They have been moving from court to court like honeybees searching for the likeliest spot. The young man takes a reconnoitering position against the fence, his fingers and nose poking through, and the girl sits down on the bench.