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A/N: Tennisward anyone? I love tennis and I love Edward Cullen.
This seemed like a logical choice, No? You guys can thank my Beta team for getting this early...
There is a thread on twilighted for this fic. Link is on my profile.
See you down below.
The US Open Tennis Championship is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. Every August, over five hundred thousand people flock to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, to witness their favorite players fight for the trophy, glory, and this year over one point seven million dollars in prize money. If the winning player had also won the US Open Series leading up to the final grand slam of the year, their earnings would be doubled by up to a million dollars. Last year, over seven hundred thousand people attended.
If I won this year's championship, I would make two point seven million dollars, more than I'd made in my entire career thus far. I had already almost surpassed my total career winnings by just making it to the final. I was guaranteed at least seven hundred thousand dollars. But I wanted the big check and I also wanted to be one of the youngest players to win a major. Only Roger Federer stood in my way.
Roger fucking Federer…
Yes, the greatest player of all time. The winner of fifteen major titles, the leader in all time prize money won, the man who had won this event for the past five years in row.
That Roger Federer. Fucking pansy ass, wimpy-looking Swiss hero imposter.
I had finally made it to my first slam final, after falling in the semifinal stage to Rafael Nadal at two of the three previous slams. And I would have to face Roger fucking Federer to win it.
Life just wasn't fair.
I thought I'd had a pretty damn good shot at beating Rafa at Wimbledon. I knew it was a long shot on the red clay at Roland Garros, he was the king there. But on grass? Surely I had a chance against Rafa on grass?
Damn, that fucker could run. Even when he tripped over his own long ass legs he still made the damn ball…. What was he… a damn tennis spider?
It didn't matter how far beyond the tram lines you pulled him, didn't matter if you hit a dropper then lobbed him. It didn't even freaking matter if you ran him side to side, then hit a drop shot, then lobbed him and hit a dropper again. That fucker still managed to get his racket on the ball.
Even though I had managed to win the first set in a tie break, I couldn't outlast him. The only thing that comforted me after that loss was the fact that he went on to win the title. I had lost to the eventual champion so it was somewhat okay.
Roger had done me the favor of taking Rafa out in the other semifinal, leaving me to take care of Novak Djokovic. The Serbian number one and 2008 Australian Open Champion.
It hadn't been a cakewalk to the finals either. Novak had come to play and he was just dying to get another shot at Roger. He had lost to him in the 2007 final, after having five set points in the first set and two set points in the second.
He'd lost in straight sets.
It had taken me three hours and fifty-seven minutes to finally hear Kader Noni say "Game, set, match Edward Cullen, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6." It was the longest match I'd ever played. Now, here I was two days later, about to take on the greatest player in the history of the game. I mean fuck!
I would've preferred to play Agassi or Sampras.
But there I was sitting in the locker room with my head in my hands. My father and coach, Carlisle, was pacing the floor. My physio trainer, Felix, had already warmed me up and left to go make sure my family found their way to the player's box.
They were all there.
My mom, brothers and sisters, had all traveled from across the country to watch me in my first slam final.
God, I hoped I didn't disappoint them.
"You can't think like that, Edward. You have to do this for you, not for us."
Fuck. I'd said that out loud? I had to get my shit together. I could see it now… Emmett would make me a billboard congratulating me on my epic failure if I lost… yep… just what I needed.
"Dad, you know that won't happen. I want to make them proud. I want to make you proud. We've been working at this for so long. I'm not the only one that's had to put up the hours. You did, too. If I lift that trophy tonight, it will be our win, not just mine."
It was the truth. My family had sacrificed so much so I could train and do what I loved. My father sacrificed the most of all. He'd sold his practice and cashed in all his stocks just so I could go train in the best facilities around the world. I owed him this win.
I could tell my words affected my father more than he'd care to admit. Carlisle was not one to show emotion much. He was a hard ass on the training field and never gave me a break. His work and dedication is the only reason in less than twenty minutes, I would be playing quite possibly, the most important match of my life.
"Alright, Son… I know you can do this. When you step out onto that court, he is not Roger Federer, do you hear me? All you're going to see on the other side of that net is a junior player. Someone you could play circles around. You've made it to the semis of all the slams this year. The only person who has been able to take you out was the person who went on to win the title. You know what that means?" He asked while slamming his fist against one of the lockers. I jumped and looked into his deep blue pools.
His eyes were flashing aqua flames. He was excited.
"That means this is YOUR chance, Son. This is YOUR moment. You weren't taken out in the semis here because YOU are going on to win this title! You can make up for the loss at the Australian now."
I nodded and stood up. I'd been sitting long enough.
"You ready?" he yelled.
"You're not ready." My father sneered at me.
I closed my eyes and started jumping up and down lightly. I had to psych myself up. I could do this. I could beat him. I'd taken out the world's third best player. I could take out the number one. I was a future number one.
That fucking trophy was mine.
"ARE YOU READY?!"
"I GOT THIS!"
"Get out there and win this shit!"
I bumped fists with my father and grabbed my Wilson tennis bag. It held all my rackets and extra changes of shirts and shorts.
I was a sweaty motherfucker.
Wilson was just one of my many sponsors. When I'd had my breakthrough last year, the offers poured in like a waterfall. We had to have someone managing all my shit. Since we didn't want people taking advantage of us, Esme, also known as Mom, stepped up. She acted as my manager and PR rep.
She had made me one rich little fucker.
I was now sponsored by Nike, Wilson, Rolex, Coca Cola, Bank of America, American Airlines, and Jaguar.
And guess what?
They gave me a fucking XJ.
A free, top of the line, every feature you could possibly think of, not to be available for purchase for another year, XJ.
Thank you Esme!
I couldn't even drive it yet, since I didn't have time for a road test. But still, it was fuckhot car!
"Fight." my father said from behind me, snapping me out of my materialistic thoughts.
I would fight.
I wouldn't get down, I wouldn't be negative. I would fight until the very last point, I thought, as I walked to the locker room door. This is it, was my final thought as I gripped the doorknob. This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Do not waste it, Cullen.
I nodded my head as I twisted the knob and pulled it open. I was met with THE greatest player of all time walking by. He and his team stopped. They all stared at me appraisingly for a moment then… he spoke to me. The motherfucker was actually speaking to me.
"Hey, Edward." Roger fucking Federer said pleasantly to me.
"Fight." Carlisle muttered, from his place behind me.
"Congratulations, man. Nice win against Novak. Good luck today." And Roger fucking Federer held his hand out to me.
I took his hand and gripped it firmly making sure mine didn't shake. I didn't want him to think he was affecting me. I knew what that fucker was trying to do.
"Thanks. Good luck to you too."
His team laughed.
Maybe they thought he didn't need luck. They had nothing to worry about. He was the greatest. He'd already proven his self and I was the young gun. Well guess what fuckers, I'm not just gonna bend over and take it. If he wants that fucking trophy, he's going to have to beat me. I had youth on my side. I was seventeen, he was twenty-eight. He may have had more experience but I was going to use anything I could.
I would fight.
"He was Champion at the Brisbane International, Barclays Dubai Championships, and the BNP Paribas open at Indian Wells," the announcer yelled into the mike. "Semifinalist at the Australian and French Opens, and at Wimbledon. This is his first final here at Flushing Meadows and he is the youngest player to ever win an ATP tour title. In this tournament alone, he has taken out such players as Novak Djokovic, James Blake, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Andy Murray. He is the number six ranked player in the world in only his second full year on the tour. Standing at six feet tall, ladies and Gentlemen… Edward… Cullen."
A deafening roar rang out from all the fans I'd made from my semifinal match. I stepped out of the tunnel and my ears were assaulted as the twenty-three thousand people in Arthur Ashe Stadium rose to their feet and cheered. I almost got choked up as I raised my right hand and waved to the crowd. There were Team Edward signs everywhere and I was overwhelmed by the amount of support there was for me. I was definitely not just playing for myself today.
I immediately spotted my family in our box.
Esme, Emmett, Jasper, Alice, Rosalie, and Felix were all wearing white tee shirts with black letters that spelled out C-U-L-L-E-N. Alice had her shirt tied on her hips to reveal the cheerleading skirt she was wearing.
My sister jumped up and down frantically while she waved pompoms in the air.
I laughed at them and walked past the umpires chair to my seat. There was a blur of action around me as the ball kids offered me bottles of Evian and extra towels. A man with a huge handheld camcorder was invading my personal space as he filmed everything I did. I put my bag down and pulled a racket out as the cheers died down so they could introduce Roger fucking Federer.
"He is inarguably one of the greatest players of all time. He has won fifteen major titles, one of them this year. Champion at the Australian Open, Sony Ericsson Open, Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, and the Madrid Open. Finalist at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup. He is playing in his sixth consecutive final here at Flushing Meadows having won the last five. He has won over fifty-five million dollars in career prize money. He is the number one ranked player in the world, standing at six foot one inches tall. Ladies and Gentleman, Roger… Federer."
Man, that commentator had a hard on for Federer I swear! That shit was just biased!!! I mean I'm one fucking sexy tennis player too. Then again, I didn't want him going all gay on my ass… so forget that thought!
The stadium exploded once again as they applauded their reigning champion. I would not allow myself to be intimidated. As I sat and lined up my bottles of Evian and Gatorade, I started going over my game plan, ignoring everything around me. There really were no weaknesses in Roger's game that I could exploit, so I would just concentrate on playing my own game.
That would be the way I would win this. I had to keep my service percentage high, get as many aces as I could and keep the unforced errors to a minimum.
I grabbed my racket and sprinted to the net. I kept in motion, bouncing and hopping from one foot to the other, while I waited for Roger fucking Federer to join me for the coin toss. Carlos Ramos had the honor of officiating our match and he congratulated us both when my opponent finally made it to the net.
Carlos reminded us that we had three incorrect challenges per set and would get an additional in the event of a tie break. Then it was time for the toss. I won it and in an act of sheer brilliance or utter stupidity, elected to receive.
The warm up was over and it was time to meet my destiny. I looked up at Carlisle as I walked to the court and could see him clenching his fist and mouthing 'Fight'.
I would fight.
"First set," Carlos said from the chair. "Roger Federer to serve… play."
I slumped forward and hunched my back. Bending my knees, I crouched and prepared to receive his serve. The ball landed in the net and I stepped forward anticipating a weak second serve. I felt the tension in my neck as I couldn't wait to take a crack at the ball. Roger was taking his sweet fucking time and I could feel the muscles in my arms flex as I gripped my racket tighter. Just serve bitch, I thought.
When he finally served, the ball landed in the middle of the box and I stepped quickly to my left so I could hit an inside out forehand. Roger returned with a backhand down the line that I had to chase down. I hit a squash shot that barely made it over the net and had him charging. He managed to get the ball back to my side but I had already closed the distance and was ready for his touch shot.
I hit a backhand volley winner.
"COME ON!" I yelled and pumped my fist even though it was only the first point of the match. The crowd erupted and cheered at my outburst.
"Love-fifteen." Carlos announced. I walked to the back of the court, psyched. I had drawn first blood and that was very important when you were playing the caliber of opponent I was.
Roger Fucking Federer hit a 129 MPH ace on his next serve.
I didn't win another point on his service game.
I walked to my chair and grabbed a towel as we changed sides after the first game. Once I'd made it to the base line, I chose between two balls and stuffed the other in the pocket of my shorts.
I looked down the court to the other side of the net and saw that Roger fucking Federer was standing well inside the baseline to receive my first serve.
I threw the ball in the air and swiftly brought my racket down. I hit a slice serve out wide that pulled him well off the court. He chipped the ball back at me and I hit a forehand winner behind him, wrong footing the bastard.
He stepped back for my next serve.
We continued the set like that, neither able to get a stronghold on the other's serve. There weren't many long rallies and never a deuce game… until I was serving at 4-5. I instantly regretted not electing to serve first.
I was down break point (also set point) and my first serve sailed wide. I looked up at Carlisle who mouthed 'Fight.'
I would fight.
I threw the ball up and hit my second serve.
"FAULT!" called the line judge.
Bloody fucking hell…
There was no way that ball landed out. I looked up at Carlos, who simply stared back at me.
"That ball was in!" I seethed, gesturing to the other end of the court with my racket. I couldn't believe I was about to lose the set on a bad call.
"I can't over rule on the far side," he answered. "I've got to go with the call."
"Come on… that ball was inside the fucking line!"
"Can I challenge?" I demanded.
Roger fucking Federer had already waltzed to his seat. Since I hit a double fault on break point, he won the set.
"You're out of challenges, sorry."
"This is fucking bullshit!"
"Code violation, audible obscenity. Warning, Mr. Cullen."
It was fucking unbelievable. I barely resisted the urge to do a Johnny McEnroe, and smash the goddamned racket onto the court.
"Game and first set Mr. Federer. Six game to four."
I'd need to get my shit together before the second set started. If I got another Code Violation, that would mean a point penalty. I couldn't afford to give Roger free points. I wanted him to earn them.
And I'd have to watch my fucking temper.
Carlos was not in the mood for my shit apparently. He usually didn't give out Code Violations and this was the fucking final.
I took a bathroom break to try and calm my nerves.
I came back and broke my opponents serve in the first game. Karma was such a bitch.
I won the next two sets.
It was six games all and we were about to play a tie break. I was well aware of my opponent's tie break record this year going into this match. He was 13-2.
I was 3-7.
Things did not look too good for me.
Once we'd both settled into our games, the rallies had gotten longer and more exhausting. I'd thought I was almost there when I'd broken Roger's serve in the fourth game. Ten minutes later he'd broken me back though and we held serve up until now.
I was standing at the back of the court toweling off when I heard it.
"Hit the ball to his backhand," someone whispered.
I looked around but the only people around were the line judges and ball boys. Who the hell had said that?
I handed the towel I'd used to dry myself off to the ball boy and prepared to serve.
A forehand winner came back at me so fast; I didn't even have time to blink.
I lost the tie break.
I had to do something different, I thought, as I stood waiting for the break between sets to end. I had seen the statistics on the gigantic screen near the top of the stadium, so I knew I needed to change my game. That last set, my service percentage had only been fifty-eight. I needed to be at least 65 percent.
Maybe I could just spin a few serves in and get it up. Perhaps a few softer slices out wide? I also only hit fifteen winners. Roger hit twenty-one. I had to work on finishing the points faster so I could conserve my energy.
We were entering the fourth hour.
"Time." Carlos called.
This is it, I thought. I didn't look over at my box, they couldn't help me now. I had to do this shit myself. I had to make the plays. I had to strategize.
I had to win this.
Roger wasn't going to give it to me. He was playing smart. He'd only made ten errors the last set and I'd made sixteen. After downing another chug of water, I raced to the baseline. Everyone in the crowd was on their feet and applauding us for getting to a fifth set.
We'd been playing so long, the sun was gone and the lights of the stadium we glaring at us from the corners. The only advantage of night play was that you didn't have to worry about the rays from the sun being in your eyes when you served.
I stepped up to the service line and started the most important set of tennis I would ever play in my life. To my credit, I held at love and walked to the other side without stopping at my chair. I wanted to keep the ball rolling. No unnecessary breaks, let's just plow right on through.
Roger held his serve at love.
Ten games later I found myself playing another fucking tie break. The US Open was the only slam that allowed tie breaks in the final set. Had I been playing Wimbledon, the French or Australian Opens, we would've had to play continuously.
"Six games all. Fifth set… tie break. Both players receive one additional challenge." Carlos announced.
I served a double fault giving Roger the coveted mini break in the tie. If he held his next two service points I'd be down love-three.
Roger served and hit an Ace.
I motioned for the ball kid to bring me my towel since I had sweat running down my face. My shirt was completely drenched and clinging to my abs. I wouldn't have time to change it before the end of the match though so I'd just have to play on. The kid ran over and I dried myself off. As I was handing back the towel I heard him whisper,
"Keep the ball away from his forehand!"
So that's who had spoken before. It was frowned upon for them to speak to the players unless spoken to and what the kid just did could be considered coaching. A big no-no in my profession.
But was he on to something?
The only way to know would be to give it a try. So when the next rally started I hit every single shot to Roger's backhand. After four shots, he pulled the trigger and went for a winner. The only problem (for him) was he hit the ball with the frame of the racket and it sailed high into the stands.
Mini break back to me.
I turned to look at the ball boy who was looking everywhere but at me. I could see a small smile on the kids face though. How the hell did they notice Roger's backhand was breaking down? Everyone knew it was one of the best shots in tennis.
We stayed on serve until I got another mini break and went up five-four. No matter what happened on Roger's next serve, my destiny was in my hands.
I would be serving for the US Open Championship.
My heart started racing faster than it had been after a forty five shot rally that my fucking opponent won.
We were tied at five points all.
All I had to do was win my next two service points.
I felt fucking nauseated and I thought I was gonna hurl right on the goddamned court. I asked the kid for my towel again as I had more sweat running down my face all the way to my neck. He ran up with the towel and waited patiently as I attempted to dry myself off. I probably looked like I'd taken a shower with my clothes on. I took my time, pressing the twenty second limit in between points.
"Hit to his forehand," the kid whispered frantically. Hadn't he just said to hit to his backhand?
I cocked my eyebrow as I handed the towel over.
"He'll be expecting you to attack his backhand now. You've got to surprise him," he said, trying to talk without moving his lips.
The kid's voice sounded uncharacteristically high for a ball boy. But I couldn't think about that shit.
I had a match to win.
The last time I'd taken the kid's advice I'd won the point.
Why stop now?
I walked to the baseline, and waited a moment for the crowd to quiet down. I hadn't realized it before, but they were chanting "Lets-go-Edward!" and clapping five times. Making it sound like a song.
When the hush took over the stadium, I threw the ball up and brought my racket down.
Serve down the middle of the court. It came back at me and Roger stepped to his left, anticipating a shot to his backhand side. I ripped one crosscourt and the crowd exploded when Carlos announced, "Six-five… Cullen."
It was Championship point.
I had Championship point. One more - Just one more, I chanted to myself.
Everyone in my box was on their feet screaming their heads off, except Carlisle. He was sitting calmly in the front row, both of his hands clenched in front of him.
His face looked serene. It was almost like he was in a state of peace.
Except for his fists clenched so hard they looked as if they may break…
Every single camera in the media sections turned to focus on me, wanting to capture the winning moment. I had never felt so much pressure in my entire career. Everything was riding on this. Everything me and my family had worked for was centered on this single moment.
I had to make it count.
This could either make me or break me.
I looked at my dad again and his position had not changed. My father's reaction is the only reason I didn't have one of my own. Normally, I would have been screaming and fist pumping but instead I calmly walked to the back of the court and asked for my towel again. The kid ran up and immediately said, "Serve and volley, now!" urgently.
Was he freaking insane?
Serve and volley against the best returner in the game?
I shook my head and went back to serve. Should I do it?
I threw the ball up and charged the net once my serve had landed.
"FAULT!" the line judge yelled.
I wanted to beat him over the head with my fucking racket.
The crowd booed the idiot as I stood waiting to hit a second serve. They gave me the time I needed to calm my raging nerves. While Carlos tried to quiet them down, I quickly ran through my options.
The element of surprise was gone. Roger knew I had been planning to serve and volley so he'd be anticipating that shit on the next serve. What the fuck would I do now?
My heart started racing again. I could feel each individual beat reverberate in my chest. I felt my blood rushing as fast as a jet through my veins. There was no stopping now.
But what would I do?
I'd play my game, that's what the hell I'd do. I'd fight…
FIGHT… grrr… wait did I just motherfucking growl?? Hmmm…
With that thought in mind, I threw the ball up again and hit a slice serve out wide, the same serve I'd used to start the match. Roger had to hit a squash shot, as he couldn't get anything on the ball. I ended up charging the net anyway, since I didn't know if the ball would make it over or not. Roger lobbed me after he'd chased down my backhand volley.
I ran diagonally towards the back of the court. If I was going to go down, I'd go down swinging. I spun and then cracked a forehand crosscourt. I couldn't put the brakes on in time, so I crashed into the wall where the ball kid had been standing not two seconds before. My racket flew out of my hand and I couldn't hear a goddamned thing over the ringing in my ears.
I landed on my back.
They'd have to give me a fucking minute. Carlos couldn't possibly give me a warning after that point. I'd had the fucking wind knocked out of me. So I just hung out on the floor trying to get my hearing to come back.
Suddenly, my vision was blocked and someone was hovering over me with my racket. They looked very excited but my sight was blurry from the sweat running into my eyes. I blinked them away and a cloud of chestnut surrounded me when the ball boy's cap fell off.
Cute, I thought vaguely.
Her mouth was moving but I still couldn't hear shit. I realized it was because the fucking crowed was cheering so loudly. What the fuck was going on?
The girl flipped her hair over her shoulder to one side and I was suddenly enveloped by the scent of strawberries. She thrusted my racket at me impatiently.
"Edward, you won. Get up!"
I looked up and on the gigantic screen was a replay showing me hitting a forehand passing shot that sailed by Roger and landed right inside the baseline.
Holy fucking shit…
I'd won the US Open…
I beat Roger fucking Federer…
I got to my feet quickly and the crowd cheered even louder. I didn't even think about my actions as I picked the girl up and spun her around three times. I set her down and kissed her right on her fucking cheek. The last thing I saw of her was her stunned brown eyes.
"Thank you…" I whispered.
An angelic smile lit up her face and then she pointed to the net with her chin. I turned and saw Roger was waiting.
I thanked the girl again before running to the net and shaking Roger's hand.
"Nice shot, man. Congratulations. You deserved it." Roger fucking Federer congratulated me.
"I didn't even realize… sorry I kept you waiting, man. I thought my ball went out. Good match. It was an honor to play you."
"Looks like me and Rafa have more competition to worry about."
I laughed nervously, still shaking his hand. "I don't know about that."
"All the best for the future, Edward."
He walked ahead of me and shook Carlos's hand and then I took my turn. Carlos and the tournament referee congratulated me. I placed my racket on my seat and then walked to the middle of the court.
Raising both my hands over my head I thanked God and started waving to the crowd. A fresh round of applause erupted and the Team Edward signs started flashing everywhere.
Then it fucking hit me.
I'd won the US Open!
I turned a full 360 degree circle before I started freaking out. I tore my soaking wet shirt off and the females immediately went wild. The same camera guy from before was all over me and asked me to sign his camera.
Once I had a fresh, dry shirt on I threw the wet one into the crowd.
There was a fight for it.
I stood in front of my chair, scrubbing my hands up and down my face. All of a sudden I wanted nothing more than to hug my dad. I turned to my box and my family was still losing their minds. Esme was hugging Felix, Rose was hugging Emmett, Alice was hugging Jasper, and… what the fuck?
Was that Carlisle wiping a tear from his eye?
I ran to the corner of the court and climbed over the line separating the crowd. The cheers got even louder and I was surrounded by a chorus of "Good job, Edward", "Nice shot!", "Congratulations, man!", and even a "Can I have your babies?!"
The most disturbing part? That last one was said by a man.
I quickly made my way up the stands and jumped into my box. I was immediately assaulted with hugs and kisses from my siblings and Mom. Screams were sounding all around me, Alice the loudest. My physio shook my hand and I turned to look at my dad.
He was staring at me with some unknown emotion shinning in his eyes. Then without warning, my father closed the distance between us and nearly crushed my ribs with the force of his hug. "I'm so fucking proud of you, Son! You fought! That final shot? Where the fuck did that come from, Edward?"
Carlisle pulled away and held me at arms length. "Son, you did it!"
"Thanks to you, Dad."
"Edward, baby, we're so proud of you! That was amazing." Mom said.
"Yeah, dude," Emmett cut in. "I thought you were gonna lose your shit after that code violation…"
I almost did.
"I knew he wouldn't," Alice said. "I knew you were gonna win the whole time!" Of course she did.
"Better get back down there," Felix said. "They're gonna start the ceremony soon."
"Oh shit… yeah. Party in the locker room later!" I yelled. They all laughed.
It had become tradition if I won an event, to have a mini party in the locker room before we went to dinner that night. As I made my way back to the court, I scanned for the ball girl. There was so much movement with people setting up the trophy ceremony; I could barely make anyone out.
Once I made it back to my seat, I changed shirts again and put on a light jacket. I didn't want to be dripping in fucking sweat when I accepted the trophy.
I'd won the US Open.
This had been my dream ever since I'd watched Goran Ivanisevic finally win Wimbledon. When I'd picked up my first racket at five years old, it had been for fun. Something to do with my dad. Then I'd actually shown some promise and he'd started to work me harder. I used to watch matches on TV with him all the time. Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras were winning everything, but it was Goran, who had been to the Wimbledon final three times before who inspired me. He's the only man to win Wimbledon as a Wildcard and he did it on his fourth try. It took him nine years after making his first final to actually win the title but he never gave up. He never said die. I could only hope in my career, I would have the same perseverance and longevity as he did.
Roger and I walked together to the bottom of the stage. He whispered how he couldn't wait to get home and see his kids and how it was the first time his wife Mirka hadn't been to one of his finals.
When the stage was finally set up, Dick Enberg grabbed the mike and began the ceremony.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the greatest finals in US Open history. How about another round of applause for these two great competitors?" They gave us another rousing cheer.
Dick introduced Roger after he'd given the tournament directors their chance to speak.
"I'd like to congratulate Edward on an outstanding tournament. I had a pretty great run myself but he had to take out some fierce opponents, too. Of course, I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't win tonight but sometimes you just have to put things into perspective. In 2001, Pete Sampras, one of the greatest of all time, was going for his eighth Wimbledon title. He got taken out in the fourth round by some young Swiss kid with a ponytail in five sets. That kid was me." There was laughter and cheering in the crowd. "What I'm trying to say is we each had to start somewhere. We all had that major win to break us through. Mine was against Pete, Edward's is against me tonight. So as disappointing as it is to not be lifting that trophy today, I'm very happy for Edward. As we can all see, tennis has a bright future with kids like Edward flying the flag."
Roger fucking Federer was going to make me cry like a bitch in front of twenty-three thousand people. He went on to thank the sponsors and organizers and then he took a few pictures with his runner's up trophy and vacated the space.
While another one of the organizers was giving their speech, I scanned the line of ball kids and line judges for the girl who'd helped me. I couldn't find her anywhere. What the hell?
Had I made her up?
"And now ladies and gentlemen, the 2010 US Open Mens Singles Champion, Edward Cullen."
And the crowd went wild. I could hear Alice's voice over the explosion and that was saying a lot. She was the tiniest out of all of us.
I waved as I walked up the stairs to the stage. I wasn't looking at the crowd though; I was looking at the faces of each of the ball kids.
She wasn't there.
Fuck. Maybe I had made her up.
Dick had the trophy in his hands and immediately handed it to me when I finally made it to him. I lifted it above my head and was blinded when ten thousand camera flashes went off in unison. It was like staring at the fucking sun. Once the pictures had been taken it was time to answer the world's stupidest questions.
"Well, Edward, how does it feel to be a grand slam champion and having to beat Roger Federer to do it?" Dick asked.
I was fucking elated that's how I felt.
"You know, I just don't have the words to describe… Roger's the best. Everyone knows that. So to be able to compete against him was an honor. To actually beat the greatest of all time? I don't know. Maybe I'll start believing it next week."
Laughter in the audience.
"I'd like to congratulate Roger on not only his amazing tournament but also for his new arrivals. His daughters have got to be a pair of the cutest babies I've ever seen."
Every woman in the crowd went, "Awwwww."
"I'd like to thank my father for helping me get to where I am standing right now. I wasn't always the best student and I know I'm not easy to work with. He always stayed with me and never let me give up on myself. To the rest of my family… my team… my mom for keeping me grounded, my brothers and sisters for always encouraging me and coming to watch me play and my physio for keeping my limbs from falling off. Thank you guys so much. This moment would not have been the same if I didn't have this wonderful family to celebrate it with."
The all blew kisses at me, most of all, Emmett. I laughed and went on to thank the sponsors as well. I thanked the special person who gave me advice when I needed it the most. Even though she appeared to be a figment of my imagination, I might not have won if it wasn't for the brown eyed girl.
I was presented with a check for over two and a half million dollars and the keys to a brand new 2011 Lexus IS Convertible, with a retractable hardtop.
Shit. I wouldn't be able to drive it though. Jaguar would have a fit. I was only allowed to drive a Jag for the next three years.
My brothers were going to love that Lex.
"Before we wrap things up, Edward," Dick said. "Let's take a look at that match point again. That was an unbelievable shot."
The crowd cheered "Yeah!"
Everyone looked at the ginormous screen and watched my moment of glory. I went crashing into the wall just as the ball kid stepped out of my way. I stood frozen as I watched the video.
I hadn't made her up.
The girl picked up my racket and ran over to hand it to me. She leaned over my body and was shouting excitedly. I watched mesmerized as the wind blew off her cap and her hair fell in waves around her.
I could see clearly when she shouted you won and the realization as it dawned on my face.
Where the hell had she gone?
I'd thought she was cute before but she wasn't cute.
She was beautiful…
Maybe she could come and have dinner with me and my family. Would she want to? Would her parents let her? That would be a ball kid's dream, wouldn't it? When I was younger, I would've killed to meet a pro. I knew I wasn't super famous yet, but she' helped me. She'd given me advice and had obviously been rooting for me. She'd want to hang out, right? I'd have to fucking find her first though.
I quickly scanned the line of ball kids again-and still there was no sign of the brown eyed girl-before turning my attention back to the big screen.
She was gone.
Why was she gone?
For some reason I wanted to panic. I felt my chest constricting the way it did after that long ass rally I'd played. Where did she go? And more importantly, why the hell was I feeling like I wanted to pass out? I looked up again and saw her laugh as I spun her around on the court. For some reason, the way she clung to my neck made my chest stop hurting.
What the hell was happening to me? I'd just won my first major at seventeen. I should be celebrating.
The last thing I saw on the screen was the close up of her face, her shocked beautiful brown eyes, after I'd planted one on her cheek.
Maybe she'd be inside. After I'd signed a few autographs for the waiting fans and was done with the press conference, I'd search for her inside.
A/N: So what did you all think of Tennisward? Think he'll find the brown eyed girl? (Awesome song, by the way. Van Morrison is a genius)
A HUGE thank you to my SUPERSTAR Beta team Demi, SparklingWand and VronniePantz!
Karen, I heart you bb!
If you are interested in watching the forty-five shot rally, you can follow the link below. Just remove the spaces and enjoy. I've gone to the US Open for the last two years. I had such a great time. I got all my favorite player's autographs and I took about 1200 pictures. They can be found on my Facebook page. Standing inside Arthur Ashe Stadium was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. I'd never been around so many people in my life.
Video: http://www. youtube. com/watch?v=bkvDbqAPE28
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