Early on in the Fox Searchlight release “Battle of the Sexes”, former tennis great Bobby Riggs (played to near perfection by Steve Carell) finds himself in a Gamblers Anonymous meeting. As he introduces himself, he stuns those attending by saying “Life’s a gamble. That’s what makes it a thrill”, before proceeding to tell his fellow addicts that what they really need to do is a figure out a way to stop losing, not stop gambling.
That line sums a lot about this very well done film and the actions of its larger than life characters in Riggs and tennis icon Billie Jean King (played by Emma Stone). For indeed King and Riggs were both gamblers, not only for competing in the most publicized tennis match of all time back in 1973, but also in their personal and professional lives.
Filed under Reviews, Tennis
Former World No. 4 James Blake wrote about his remarkable comeback from personal and career setbacks in his first book “Breaking Back”. Now Blake, who currently works as a tennis commentator and serves as Chairperson for the USTA Foundation has just released his second book “Ways of Grace: Stories of Activism, Adversity, and How Sports Can Bring Us Together”.
Filed under Reviews, Tennis
For someone who appreciates and admire Rafael Nadal’s game, but didn’t know a whole lot about Nadal’s personal life or early career, I actually found “Rafa”, his new book written with well-known sportswriter John Carlin, a worthwhile read if only that it gave me an inside look at the Spaniard’s life before he became a worldwide tennis phenomenon along with a candid take on Nadal’s very successful yet tumultuous relationship with his uncle and coach, Toni Nadal. Continue reading
"The Wimbledon Final That Never Was..." By Sidney Wood with David Wood.
For those who love all things Wimbledon and want to dive into the history of the sport’s greatest event, you can’t go wrong with checking out “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was” by Sidney Wood with David Wood. Published two years after the death of Sidney Wood, the book is a series of recollections and stories from Sidney Wood who was one of America’s earliest and youngest tennis champions, being only 15 when he played at his first Wimbledon in 1927. Continue reading
Hardcourt Confidential by Patrick McEnroe with Peter Bodo.
I know I’m a little late to the review party on this book but I’m just now getting around to finishing “Hardcourt Confidential: Tales From Twenty Yeats in the Pro Tennis Trenches” by Patrick McEnroe with Peter Bodo. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this read but I can say I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. This isn’t Andre Agassi’s “Open”, a memoir that got more press for Agassi’s stunning revelations instead of its superb prose, but “Hardcourt Confidential” gives readers a fine look into many sides of the tennis world, albeit from a very American focused point of view with emphasis on the ATP Tour and Davis Cup.
Even though “Hardcourt Confidential” is structured to follow the sport’s January to December season, the chapters actually adhere more to a rather loose and scattered timeline of McEnroe’s own accomplishments as a player, including winning the 1989 French Open doubles title with Jim Grabb, his work as Captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, his television broadcast experience and his player development work for the USTA, all sprinkled with memories of growing up with his more famous and more outspoken brother John McEnroe. Structure aside, McEnroe doesn’t disappoint readers with his often birds-eye view from the broadcast booth and inside the locker room experiences with the sport’s biggest names, But there’s no big “Agassi-like” revelations made by McEnroe, especially about his older brother, that fans who follow the sport on regular basis wouldn’t know already. Continue reading
The Education of a Tennis Player.
During this year’s French Open, the discussion of whether or not Roger Federer and Serena Williams had a chance to claim the ultimate goal in tennis, a complete sweep of all Grand Slam titles in one year, started and ended within a week as both players lost earlier than expected. And although they probably will get another chance at least one more time in their careers, the achievement earned by only a select group of players, the last being Steffi Graf in 1988, seemingly becomes more and more impossible to achieve as the years go on.
Those seeking insight in how one deals with the pressure of winning not only one Grand Slam, but all four, would do no wrong in picking up the recent re-release of “The Education of a Tennis Player” written by Rod Laver with Bud Collins. First published in 1971, the book is not only a sharp, funny, and candid look at the journey Laver took in 1969 to win his second career sweep of the Grand Slams, but also how “Open Era” tennis changed the way the sport was played forever. Continue reading
With social media and all its various platforms and apps taking over how many people stay in touch with one another, it’s no surprise that many WTA pros quickly took advantage of these new tools to communicate with their fans and comment on their lives in general. In an effort to aggregate all of the various players and their social networking platforms into one spot, the WTA tour recently launched its new WTA Superfans website.
Although the site is still young and the effort, for the most part, is sincere, it all comes across as one big “hot mess” for visitors. For those who still don’t know what that phrase means, according to UrbanDictionary.com, a “hot mess” is defined as “when one’s thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty. Continue reading