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In Search of the Long-Lost Volley

AP Photo

As a Grand Slam unfurls, it helps to make an expedition. I went looking for a volley, just one volley, just one little, measly volley.

For four arduous hours I roamed the back alleys of the USTA National Tennis Center, combed through the Flushing Meadows wilds, seeking a glimpse of this volley, this phenomenon teetering near extinction. It was like going out to spot an ivory-billed woodpecker, a yellow-eared parrot, a cherry-throated tanager or a Peruvian plantcutter.

Through courts 15, 14, 13, 10, 8, 6, 7, 4, Louis Armstrong, 11, 12 and 17, I wandered, wondering if I should have brought night-vision binoculars, a pith helmet and a field guide that I could show to some unsuspecting kid, point to a photo of Stefan Edberg in the early 1990s and say, "Now, this was...

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