Can You Capture a Backhand in a Watercolor?

Two or three days a week and on holidays (he works part time), Lehodey goes to see his children, Marie and Valentin, who live with their mother at Saint Aubin sur Mer, near Calvados, which is more than 160 miles away.

In a matter of days, he will complete a series of sketches that embody history as much as sport. The south wall of the stadium (Tribune C, it is called), will be torn down after 80 years to be replaced with a new structure more congenial to television cameras.

Lehodey's sketches will offer a way of looking back in time at a sight the French associate with their current crop of players as well as the glory years of the late 1920s and early 1930s, when their players captured the Davis Cup from America for the first time.

Since the 1990s, there has been a resurgence of tennis here. A million-plus players belong to the French Tennis Federation, enjoying league and tournament play.

Franck Lehodey's sketches are a reminder that the French spirit of art lives in harmony with its love of sport.

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