Epilogue

Monday June 23rd 2026 – Day 1, Wimbledon Championships 2026

"Evans is doing well out here on court this afternoon, after a difficult first set in which he lost 3-6, he's pulling out some great tennis now in the second. He's definitely not going to let this opportunity pass him by," announced one of the commentator in the BBC box. "At just seventeen years old, this is his first Wimbledon and he's going to want to give it his all."

"Yes, I think you could be right about that, Tom," agreed the other commentator. "This is a big deal for new kid on the block, Evans. People are going to have high expectations for him, considering that he's the son of not one, but two Wimbledon Champions. And look, there they are on your screen right now, seated in the VIP box along side Todd Davis, Evans' coach and his manager, Peter Wilkinson."


Liz felt her heart swell with pride as she watched her son hit a powerful serve across the net. When she'd retired from tennis all those years ago, she would never have imagined that she would be back here almost twenty years later, cheering on her teenage son in his first ever match at Wimbledon. It had never been her intention for Jonathan to follow in her or Max's footsteps, but their son was a natural… he'd first picked up a racket at the tender age of three and that was it. He'd been destined to play tennis.

She felt a large, warm hand slip into hers and squeeze it gently. She smiled contentedly as she turned her head, her eyes meeting those of her husband of almost seventeen years. Max returned the smile before nodding and turning towards Jonathan who was currently involved in a long rally. Liz took a moment to study his profile; he was still as handsome now, at forty-five, as he had been at twenty-six, in fact, Liz would argue that he was even more so now, the light smattering of grey sprinkled through his dark locks giving him a very distinguished air.

Turning her attention back to the match, she couldn't help but smile at how much Jonathan looked like Max, with his slightly unruly dark hair and tall, lean frame. He had inherited her ears (thankfully) and her eyes, but everything else was pure Max. As she cheered and clapped as Jonathan won yet another game, she couldn't help her thoughts drifting back to the day he was born – Christmas Eve 2008 – and how happy she had been when she'd held him in her arms for the first time.

Surprisingly, her pregnancy had been much smoother than she'd thought it would be. Although the doctor had told her that pregnancy often suppressed the symptoms of MS, she'd still been expecting more discomfort and tiredness than she'd actually experienced. However, the birth itself had been very hard on her body as her energy had quickly waned and pushing had proved difficult. But the moment she heard the loud cries of her newborn son and he was placed in her arms, she knew it had all been worth it. Both she and Max had fallen in love with him immediately.

Unfortunately, the first few months after the birth had not been easy on her. Despite all of her and Max's efforts to make sure she had children while she was still young and had enough energy to cope with raising a child, staying at home to look after Jonathan while Max was off travelling the world on the ATP tour really began to take its toll on her body and after six months, she was really struggling. Of course, Max spent as much time at home with her and their son as he could, but he still had a career to think of, and often it just wasn't practical for her and the baby to travel with him.

They had originally planned for a Spring wedding, when Jonathan was three or four months old, but as the time drew nearer and Liz was struggling with lack of sleep and general fatigue, along with the increased possibility of a relapse, they'd decided to postpone it for a few months. In the end, the ceremony had been held in the grounds of her father's large Surrey estate on a gorgeous early August afternoon that summer. It had been an absolutely perfect day, followed by an even more perfect wedding night and a luxurious two-week honeymoon in Mauritius, just the two of them.

Liz had not wanted to leave Jonathan at home for those two weeks, but Max had pointed out that all the stress she'd been under over the last few months was really wearing her out and that she could really do with the break to rejuvenate her body without having to worry about taking care of Jonathan too. Plus, Max's mother, Diane had insisted on taking him for the two weeks and she refused to let Liz even think about flying the baby all the way to Mauritius on what should be a holiday just for two.

Liz glanced at Max again, feeling a rush of warmth flow through her body as she recalled a particularly perfect morning on their honeymoon…


Thursday August 13th 2009 – Mauritius

"It's so gorgeous here," sighed Liz happily as she leaned against the balcony of their honeymoon suite and gazed out at the white sands and sparkling blue sea of the beautiful coastal resort they'd chosen to stay in.

"It certainly is," murmured Max, as Liz could hear him shuffling around behind her.

A moment later, she felt his hands on her hips and she reluctantly tore her eyes away from the breathtaking view and turned to face him. Her breath caught in her throat as she saw the look on his face, his dark eyes dancing with happiness, a leisurely grin lighting up his handsome features, as he leaned in to kiss her hungrily.

"Hmm," Liz moaned in against his lips as he pulled her flush against his half-naked body, clad only in black boxers, and wrapped his arms tightly around her.

She shivered with anticipation as she felt the warmth from his hands pressed against her lower back seep through the large dress shirt of his that she was currently swimming in. It was the same one he'd worn out to dinner last night and that she'd hurriedly tugged at and pulled over his head the moment they arrived back at the hotel room later on.

Liz felt Max grin against her lips just before he pulled back and lifted one hand to gently push her tousled hair back off her forehead.

"I love you, Liz Evans," he murmured, his eyes searching hers. "I love you so much."

"I love you too," she replied softly, her hands moving to his lean hips, her fingers clutching at his warm skin as he kissed her again, this time briefly though, before he took one of her hands in his. Liz gasped in surprise at the sight before her as Max led her towards the white chaise lounge in the corner of the large balcony.

"Oh, Max…"

"You like?"

"Wow…" she breathed.

Several large, fluffy hotel towels were draped over the chaise lounge, creating an inviting relaxation spot. A cold bottle of champagne stood proud in the centre of the small balcony table next to the chair, accompanied by two tall champagne glasses, a bowl of juicy strawberries and a jug of whipped cream.

"I thought we could go with tradition today," murmured Max, his lips nuzzling her neck as he acknowledged the condiments customarily served at the Wimbledon Championships each year.

"Good choice," nodded Liz, her voice slightly breathless now.

Max's mouth continued to wreaked havoc on her sensitive skin as he urged her toward the chaise lounge, sliding onto the chair before holding out his hand for her to join him. She did so eagerly, settling her hips between his legs and leaning back against his chest as Max reached for the champagne bottle to fill their glasses with the sparkling liquid. The next few minutes were spent in relaxed pleasure as they fed each other cream-dipped strawberries.

It didn't take long for the bubbly champagne to have its effect on Liz though and the tingly warmth of the alcohol quickly began to spread through her limbs, causing her to relax more fully against Max, a blissful smile on her face.

"Hmm, I could get used to this," she murmured contentedly when she felt Max's hands on her shoulders, his fingers gently massaging her skin, working their magic. "I haven't felt this good… or relaxed… in forever."

"That was kind of the point," came Max's amused tone, as he let out a soft laugh, his warm breath tickling her neck and making her shiver with delight.

Liz closed her eyes in satisfaction as she moaned her approval at his movements.

"Sit up," he murmured in her ear a few moments after she'd gotten comfortable.

"Huh?" she mumbled, not opening her eyes.

"Sit up," he repeated gently, "So I can reach your back."

She sighed, as if his request was too difficult to achieve right this moment, "Oh, okay. Fine."

She eased herself up into a sitting position, resting her hands on Max's thighs and tilting her head forward, as his hands began working their way downwards from her neck. She arched slightly as he reached the middle of her back, brushing a sensitive spot, and a small moan escaped her lips.

Ten minutes later found her stretched out on her stomach along the chaise, Max straddling her legs as he continued his wonderful ministrations on her body. Every now and then, he slipped beneath the hem of the shirt she was wearing and she would feel his bare hands on her warm skin, which rather than relaxing her, actually served to send tingles of arousal through her body instead.

"You feeling better now? More relaxed?" he asked, his voice a mere rumble as his thumbs pressed into her lower back, causing her to stiffen slightly beneath him.

"Uh huh," she mumbled, unable to actually form words at this point.

"Great," his voice held a smile. "That's exactly what I was going for."

"Oh God," she gasped a second later when he hit yet another sensitive spot. "Right there."

"Where?" he murmured, moving his thumbs over her skin, pressing down again. "There?"

"Yes," she groaned, her breathing becoming laboured, her arousal growing. "Max… I need…"

She didn't need to say anything else, as Max appeared to understand exactly what she was asking. He quickly removed his hands from her back and climbed off the chaise, as she pulled herself up into a sitting position. Barely a few moments later, Max had resumed his earlier position on the chair and had pulled her onto his lap. Liz gasped as Max pulled her close and her bare skin came into contact with his boxer-short-covered arousal.

Within seconds, his hands were under her shirt again, this time cupping her full breasts, his thumbs gently grazing the sensitive nipples. Liz brought her head down, capturing Max's lips in an urgent, needy kiss as his hands moved down over her skin to cup her bottom, pressing their lower bodies together. Liz reached down and quickly freed Max from the boxers, before lowering herself onto him, letting out a groan of satisfaction at the delicious contact.

They made love slowly and luxuriously on the chaise lounge, savouring every blissful moment, not caring if anyone could see them (which thankfully, they couldn't, due to the small concrete wall that surrounded the balcony) and afterwards, they lay there together gazing up at the bright blue sky that was so different from the usual cloud and rain back home in London.

"Max?" murmured Liz softly, as she drew imaginary circles across his chest.

"Hmm?"

"I really miss him," she confessed, knowing Max would know exactly who she was talking about – their son.

"Me too," he sighed.

"It's so strange not having him here with me. He's become so much a part of me."

"I know," said Max softly, pressing a gentle kiss to the top of her head. "But you needed this break; we both did. You've been so tired and stressed lately trying to keep on top of things and I've barely been at home with all the tournaments and everything. This was just something we had to do on our own."

"Yeah," smiled Liz, turning her head to look up at him. "I know."

"Plus, it is our honeymoon," he grinned then, causing Liz to chuckle. "We have to make the most of it now, don't we?"

"Definitely," she replied resolutely, leaning up for a kiss.

"After all, this could be the one of the few times we'll be fully alone again, especially when we decide to have more children."

At his words, Liz stiffened, her good mood dipping slightly.

"Hey, what's wrong?"

She shook her head, pulling herself up to sitting so she could look at him properly.

"Max," she started tentatively. "I don't want any more children."

"Really?" Max sat up too, a concerned expression appearing on his face as he took her hand. "Are you sure?"

"Yes… no… I–" she sighed. "Okay, yes, in theory I do want another child; but Max, it's hard enough for me trying to take care of just Jonathan. I don't think I could handle raising another child too."

"Okay," Max's features relaxed as he took in her words. He reached out a hand to caress her cheek. "I understand; I really do. I know how difficult you've been finding it all lately, with the fatigue and everything."

She nodded, "I didn't think I would even get to have one child, let alone more than one and now I have Jonathan – we have Jonathan – Max, I love him with all my heart and truthfully, he's all I need."

"Me too," agreed Max, as he took her into his arms, holding her tightly against his bare chest. "Me too, Liz, I have you and I have my son, and the two of you make me the happiest man alive. I couldn't ask for anything else."


Max felt like a nervous wreck as he watched his son play his first ever Wimbledon match out on Court No. 2. Although it had been nine years since he'd retired from tennis and twenty-five since he'd been in Jonathan's position, competing against a high-seeded player in his first ever match, he could still remember how it felt to be out there on the Wimbledon courts like it was yesterday. Despite his fears for his son, he still couldn't deny that he was extremely proud of his achievements. He had to admit that a career in tennis hadn't been his first choice for him – he hadn't ever wanted to push him into the sport or anything like that – but it had been obvious from an early age that he was a natural and absolutely loved the game.

Although Max wished for his son to make it as far as he could in the tournament and in tennis overall, he couldn't help but worry that the pressure of playing professional tennis might be too much for him to handle. Jonathan had always been a quiet, soft-spoken, sometimes shy child and even as he'd matured into a teenager, he'd still retained those qualities, and Max knew firsthand how tough being in the spotlight could be. He just hoped that he wouldn't fall into the trap of the press and the pressures of celebrity in the future.

After his second Wimbledon Championship win back in 2008 and then winning the US Open a couple of months later, Max had eased off on his training a little to concentrate more on Liz and her pregnancy. Since Jonathan had been born in December, he had also opted not to enter the Australian open that January, preferring to stay at home with Liz and the baby. However, he knew that if he wanted to keep his ranking up in the top twenty, he needed to compete in the smaller ATP and Masters tournaments in the following months. He hated to leave Liz at home alone with their son, especially when she was struggling to cope with him, but there was little he could do about it if he wanted to keep his career on track. However, he did make sure that his mum could be available to help out if Liz ever needed her to and Diane had eagerly agreed to help out with anything Liz needed.

Although he continued to play in Grand Slams over the next few years, he found that he wasn't as determined to win them as he had been in the past. He'd already achieved all this goals – winning all four Grand Slams in the same year and then winning both Wimbledon and the US Open again the next year – so he continued to play because he loved the sport and because it was so much a part if his life that he couldn't imagine not playing.

Liz, on the other hand, had decided not to return to professional tennis after Jonathan was born, a decision that Max had supported wholeheartedly after seeing how tired she had become just being at home trying to look after the baby. However, she too had not been able to give up the sport completely and it was quite common for the two of them to head down to the tennis club courts every week or so for a friendly match, sometimes for a singles game and sometimes playing mixed doubles with Nathan and Sarah.

In the end, Max had retired from the Men's Singles game at age thirty-two, but had continued to play in the Seniors tournaments for another four years, before putting down his racket permanently and switching to the commentary box and presenting from the BBC TV studios at age thirty-six. Since then, he'd become a regular fixture on British television during Wimbledon tournaments – although this year he'd opted out of working for the BBC, preferring to support Jonathan from the sidelines instead.

Out on court, Jonathan Evans was both energised and determined. He knew that his chances of winning even this first-round match were pretty slim, since his opponent was seeded at number ten and he himself was unseeded and ranked at only one-hundred-and-twenty in the world, but he was still determined to play to the best of his ability today.

Not only were the stands full of fans, cheering him on as a British player, but his parents were sitting just a few feet away in the VIP box and as much as he knew that they wouldn't care if he didn't win this match, he still didn't want to disappoint them. After all, if it weren't for his father's encouragement and valuable advice and his mother's resolve to do anything and everything she could for him even though she was sick, he would never have made it this far.

He knew it had been hard on his mum, watching his dad play in tournaments while she herself was not out there playing the tennis circuit. When he'd been younger, about eight or nine, he'd worried that was reason she was sad about not playing tennis was because of him, because she had to stay at home and take care of him instead of playing tennis with Dad. But when his mum had found him sulking in his bedroom after school one afternoon, she'd been quick to reassure him that it was not his fault at all.

That was the day that she'd sat him down and told him about her illness. She'd wrapped her arms around him and stroked his hair back off his forehead as she told him that he was the most precious thing in her life and the best thing that had ever happened to her. It wasn't until a few years later, just after he'd turned fifteen that he'd finally learned the truth about his parents' relationship; how his mum had once given up on ever having children and how he'd been a complete blessing to them.

While his mum had been relatively healthy when he was younger, only suffering the odd dizzy or fainting spell and occasional lack of coordination, by the time he began to hit puberty, her relapses started to become more frequent, bringing worsening symptoms with them each time, and two years ago, she'd started using a wheelchair. She was still very much capable of walking unaided, but she would get tired very quickly and so chose to use a wheelchair to travel longer distances.

He still remembered the day when the story of her illness broke in the newspapers. He knew that his parents had been planning to make a formal announcement after she'd suffered an unexpected collapse in the middle of Oxford Street when he was thirteen, but unfortunately the paparazzi had gotten a few pictures of the incident and hadn't hesitated to print them and so they'd had to come clean sooner than planned. Thankfully, they'd had a good, supportive reception from both the press and the general public and within a few weeks it was old news.

As he shifted his weight from foot to foot while he waited for his opponent to serve, Jonathan couldn't stop the bubble of excitement that was threatening to rise up in his throat. He almost couldn't believe that he was actually here at Wimbledon, playing on the same court that both of his parents had once played on. It was like a dream come true. Now if only he could just win this… shit. The ball had just whizzed past him in a perfectly placed ace from his opponent and as the crowd cheered, he couldn't help the groan of annoyance that escaped his lips. He looked to the sidelines, to see his parents nodding and giving him encouraging smiles and he knew he just had to suck it up and carry on.

By the beginning of the third set, it appeared that the match was a losing battle. he was down two sets to love and it was obvious that the seeded player on the other side of the net was just too good for him to beat. Well, Jonathan resolved when in was his turn to serve, if he couldn't win this, he'd better at least give it his all in this, potentially final, set. With that thought in mind, he bounced the ball a couple of times, threw the ball into the air and slammed his racket down.

It turned out that his prediction was correct: he didn't win the match, but if he was honest, Jonathan wasn't too disappointed. True to his word, he'd upped his game in the third set, giving his opponent a run for his money as much as possible and even winning most of his games. The match finished with a third-set tiebreak and though his opponent won, he knew that he'd played some of his best tennis in those final few games. As he glanced to the sidelines again and saw his dad standing up as he clapped, a look of pride on his face, and his mum still seated beside him, but with the same proud expression, he realised what an achievement it was just to be able to play at Wimbledon. And after all, he was still only seventeen. He was just starting out; who knew what the future held?

End