Conor Niland, who used to be the number one tennis player in Ireland, on being “at the bottom of the top” of professional tennis. I loved this bit about seeing Andre Agassi at an ATP event in San Jose…

“Can we get you anything, Andre?” the gaggle circling him asked earnestly. “Uh, sure, I’ll have some water,” he replied half-heartedly, even though he was standing a few paces from a fridge full of bottled water. He wanted to give them something to do. One of them was dispatched and quickly came back with a plastic glass full of chilled water. Andre took a small sip and put it down on the table beside him, the one I was sitting at. He didn’t pick it back up. After a few moments, Andre and his entourage moved on.

If you like Niland’s piece, and you’re even mildly into tennis, then you should absolutely read Andre Agassi’s autobiography, Open. The opening chapter (“The End”), has this brilliant bit:

It’s no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature. Even the structure of tennis, the way the pieces fit inside one another like Russian nesting dolls, mimics the structure of our days. Points become games become sets become tournaments, and it’s all so tightly connected that any point can become the turning point. It reminds me of the way seconds become minutes become hours, and any hour can be our finest. Or darkest. It’s our choice.

Consider this your friendly reminder that Wimbledon kicks off on Monday; any point can become the turning point.