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National Tennis Court in Newport, RI | Real Tennis, Anyone?

“Actually, it’s CVS dental floss,” he says. “Our favorite.”

The floss remark worries me. Though I obviously have a God-given gift for the game, my real purpose is to hobnob with the nabobs in Newport. But what sort of snob would be seen hitting a ball laced with dental floss? I give Wharton a wink. . “Say, old man,” I say hopefully, as I push my straw boater back off my forehead, “isn’t this game “elitist’?”

He laughs. “Anything that’s rare gets the tag ‘elitist’ put on it. Do you have to be wealthy to play court tennis? Not at all. We sort of get a bad rap, because of the nature of where the game is, in the clubs. The game itself would appeal to anyone. This is not an elitist club.”

Darn. Despite my uncanny knack for hitting the nick (that is, striking the ball so that it lands where the end wall meets the floor and rolls rather than bounces), I must give up court tennis. Newport’s National Tennis Court is too plebian for my purposes, I realize, as I trudge away from Wharton’s non-elitist office. Outside, I consult my map of Newport. Now where is the Newport Yacht Club? Surely a $30 million America’s Cup boat could use a crew member who can polish a penthouse and bang the grille with such ease.


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