The action was imperfect, the ball toss too far over the left shoulder, but the imaginary flight of the ball drew a call of ‘ace’ and a dubious look from his little sister; her copy-book backhand had connected with nothing but air.

He recalled the ball to hand, stood side-on to his sister, who spun the racquet in her hands and swayed, bent-kneed, bum-out, transferring her weight from side-to-side, ready to return serve.

He paused a moment, as the train in the near distance sounded its horn. Then he bounced the ball deliberately three times, cocked his wrist, picked his spot, raised his racquet and threw the ball above his left shoulder.

He fell into the court off-balance. The serve was returned sharply cross-court on the forehand — a rally, at last. Forehand versus forehand, big brother and little sister.

The ball clipped the tape of the net. He dove forward, spooning it up and over her head, forcing her to retreat to the baseline and play the ball, back to her brother, between her legs.

A simple angled-volley was all that was required but he under-cut the ball and it looped and fizzed with spin and landed in the backhand corner. She connected with another copy-book backhand, one eye on the train arriving at the platform below.

The ball wrapped on the frame of her racquet and skied up and over the metal beams of the station shelter.

His eyes went up, following the trajectory; the train arrived and gusted the ball towards the baseline. He shuffled a few steps backwards and to the left to take the ball on his forehand.

The ball dropped, bounced above his head, and his arm came through and his wrist flicked through the shot to slam the ball down the centre of the court.

‘Winner!’, he cried.

His little sister was half-way down the steps, their parents waiting with tickets.

All the spectators boarded the train and left the imaginary trajectories and tennis balls on the overpass that lead to Platform 2.

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