The Party at the U.S. Open Racket Club

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Lleyton Hewitt of Australia celebrates after defeating Pete Sampras

"Will you accept a collect call from Bambi in New York?"

"Omigod! Absoloootly!"

"Go ahead, caller."

"Omigod! What an unbelievable party! The best! We danced and danced and had so much fun. All the girls were there — all of them, and they all stayed late! — and we had an absolute ball!

"The boys? Yeah, the boys were there, too. At the beginning anyway. I Didn't notice any of them late.

"It's gotten even worse-with the boys, I mean. Used to just be boring. Now, crude and totally un-fun.

"Yeah, Pete was there. He stayed. But, you know, he's not a lot of fun, Pete. He can dance, sort of, in that stomp-stomp way of his. But that's not much fun. He's looking old, and of course he's off the market, now.

"Andre was there, yeah. He came with Steffi. They say she's pregnant! He's still cool. I like Andre. Who doesn't? But it's soooo sad. He just hasn't looked himself, the last three parties. He had some fun with Pete but . . . .Well, I'm not sure he's excited about it anymore, what with Steffi. Andre left about quarter-of. The boys without Andre, I mean, c'mon — there's no one, they're so nothing.

"The new kids are so blah. The guy who's supposed to be the leader of of this New Balls gang, a kid from Brazil named Gustaf-Gustafo, Gustavo. . .Gustavo Kuertin, sounds like curtain — he says 'No way, Jose.' He says, 'I'm not part of this,' and he leaves about the same time as Andre. So Andre's gone and Gustafo's gone, and there's only Pete and this kid from Australia named Leigh-something. At least boring is just boring, but I think this kid is bad news. He gets into a fight early on, and I swear he called another guy names — like racial names. First he said he didn't do it, when of course everyone heard him do it, and then he said that's just the way we are in Australia, which of course is worse. He ended up staying the longest of the boys, didn't seem to mind that no one liked him.

"But who cares, right. The girls had a great time.

"Serena? Sure, of course. You shoulda seen her dress this year! Cut down to there and up to there and with those big swirls that swirl up and around her you-know- what's! Take that, little Miss Kournikova!

"Speaking of Anna, she couldn't come — she and Mary couldn't make it. So the big thing this year was all these little girls — 16, like — trying to scoop the boys like Anna does. There was this one from Florida — Hackle-something — and what she was wearing! I couldn't believe her mom and dad let her out in that thing! Yes, her dad was there, and he said something like, "Well, it's okay, looking nice for the boys is okay," or something like that. Unbelieveable! His own daughter. I guess I'm getting old. Senior year, y'know.

"I like Serena, and her sister too. Yeah, Crazy Mr. Williams was there, chaperoning. I know he's crazy, I know it — always embarrassing himself on the dance floor. But he's always smiling, and nice to his daughters, and he's nice to the other girls, too. I think he's okay. Mrs. Williams was there, too, and looked so proud of her girls. She let them stay late.

"Crazy Mr. Docik didn't get thrown out this year. No drunk parents this time, no parents complaining about the food and causing a ruckus. It's always the parents who are the worst at these parties, isn't it. Always embarrassing the kids. Not so bad, this time,

"I guess there was a ruckus of some sort outside, that's what I heard. Johnny Mac was out there. Remember him? You know how all he does now is give his opinions on everything, so I guess he was outside telling everybody how all the guys — I guess he meant himself, too — are better dancers than Serena and Venus. Pathetic! An old grumpy bald guy, all angry that he can't get into the dance. Just trying to cause trouble. Yeah, I know — he was always trouble, but he used to be kinda cool, when it was him and Jimmy C. and that dreamboat Bjorn. So sad, now — a big Mr. Grumpus. He was hanging with that sex-fiend Boris, and they were saying how they were gonna take the dance floor after the girls and show everyone what's what. I don't think anyone even watched.

"Let's see, who else was there? Venus, Serena, Martina, of course, that foreign exchange student from Switzerland — Martina Hingis — the one no one likes. Grrrr.

"Lindsay Davenport, of course. She looked great. Remember how we used to feel bad for Lindsay? She was always nice a nice girl, but big, you know, and kind of dumpy. Well, she looks great now. A real winner, real comfortable on the dance floor. And still as nice as ever.

"Monica's doing better, laughing more than I've seen her since Mr. Seles died a couple years ago. She looks great, too, all slimmed down.

"Who won the contest? Well, first, Martina beats somebody in their danceoff, and then she loses to, let's see, Serena. Serena's already beaten Lindsay. That girl who used to have the drug problem, Jenny, she's doing great, all healthy and fit again, but she has to dance against Venus and, well, like, no way, right? Then it's just the sisters, and they always look awkward dancing with one another. But it was sweet, too. They said it was the first time two sisters ever danced off for the club championship, and everyone was saying how much better the club is that it now has these terrific girls of color-which never used to happen. Take that, Mr. Australia!

"I can't tell you how disappointed I am in the boys compared to the girls. They're just not holding up their end at these parties.

"Oh, but, have you caught this new kid, Andy? A real dreamboat. He's got this John-Malcovich's-kid-brother thing going, and he's way cool and real energetic. Maybe the future's brighter!

"Well, gotta go. School tomorrow! See ya at the lockers.