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Old 11-17-2010, 03:12 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Tennis books

I'd like to discuss in this thread about tennis books (of course tennis books connected with males ). Would be nice if we shared our opinions and recommend some interesting books to buy and read

Here are the books which I've read this year and would recommend you.

Bud Collins: "The History of Tennis"



I call it "Bible of tennis". Actually it should be an obligatory tennis book for all tennis fans The year by year analyses of tennis seasons going back to 1919! Plenty of interesting stories, mainly of Grand Slam tournaments, long and shorter biographies of most notable tennis players (male & female) in history + results and stats...

Randy Walker: "On This Day in Tennis History"



It's a great supplement to Collins's bible Many interesting short stories given a particular day of the calendar year from January to December. I love the formula of the book because you can read it without a chronological order just to extend your tennis knowledge. Similarly like in Collins's bible there are unique stories from the period between World Wars.

Rod Laver with Bud Collins: "The Education of a Tennis Player"



An extremely honest autobiography about a man who (as I suppose) transformed his inferiority complex into a huge success thanks to very hard work. It's a story about greed (it's a positive trait for every athlete), devotion and loyalty with purely athletic background which allows us to understand today's financial success of world's tennis. The book includes also interesting advices of the great champion for players on many different levels. If an autobiography can depict the spirit of a protagonist, "The Education of a Tennis Player" does it very well (the same thing with two autobiographies below). I shocked myself because after the last paragraph I had tears in my eyes

John McEnroe with Mark Kaplan: "You Cannot be Serious"



I've got an impression it's a very honest autobiography too. McEnroe tries to explain his on-court outbursts, maybe in some sense apologizing for that and shows the backstage of his eccentric behavior. I wish some interesting matches hadn't been depicted more profoundly but enjoyed off-court stories with the best players of 70's and 80's Sex, drugs and rock & roll, tennis

Cliff Richey with Hilaire Richey: "Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion's Toughest Match"



Actually Cliff Richey wasn't the most popular player of the 60's and 70's (at least in retrospective) but he was a top class player, maybe someone like "Pics" Ferrer nowadays, a big fighter and a moody player, some archetype of McEnroe. It's a double track story: from one side we have a supplement to Laver's book which allows to understand better the first years of the Open era, on the other side there's a story about a man who suffers depression as a tennis player and can't get ride of it after his retirement, so it's an interesting book for all readers who like psychology and the whole stuff connected with the mysterious human mind
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Old 11-25-2010, 07:34 AM   #2
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Thank you for the recommendation. It is inspring to read the similar books.
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:49 PM   #3
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Good thread.

I have read ridiculously few tennis books. Was in my local library during the week and all they had (apart from instructional manuals) was biographies by McEnroe and Becker. McEnroe's is a good read alright.

Anyone read Becker's? Not sure what one it was. He might have more than one.

Nastase's autobiography is a very enjoyable read too.



Actually this thread has made me seen the error of my ways and I shall be seeking out some fucking physics texts instead. haha, complete tool.
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Old 11-27-2010, 02:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Voo de Mar View Post
Randy Walker: "On This Day in Tennis History"



It's a great supplement to Collins's bible Many interesting short stories given a particular day of the calendar year from January to December. I love the formula of the book because you can read it without a chronological order just to extend your tennis knowledge. Similarly like in Collins's bible there are unique stories from the period between World Wars.
That looks interesting, I think I'll pick it up.

I'm surprised the epic "Winning Ugly" by Gilbert isn't on your list.
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:00 PM   #5
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Thanks Henry for your contribution Is this autobiography concentrated more on his private life or tennis career?
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:06 PM   #6
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Nastase's book is a good mix of personal and tennis life from what I remember. It's mostly from the time of his career rather than his life since tennis iirc. Some great anecdotes of altercations with umpires and crowd members and stuff.

It's about six years since I read it so the details are a bit hazy. I do remember I enjoyed it a lot though. I will read it again soon if I get the chance.

I've also had Agassi's autobiography sitting on my shelf since last Christmas and still haven't read it.
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Henry Chinaski View Post
Nastase's book is a good mix of personal and tennis life from what I remember.
The same thing with McEnroe's and Laver's autobiographies. Richey's book treats more about personal issues, actually it's all about his depression, he tries to explain that being a pro, despite good money and traveling around the world, isn't so nice as spectators would suspect.
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Old 12-06-2010, 03:48 AM   #8
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Just started Agassi's autobiography. Good read so far although it's a little too literary to be believable as an autobiography
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:55 PM   #9
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:30 PM   #10
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Sidney Wood with David Wood: “The Wimbledon Final That Never Was”

Sidney Wood (1911-2009) - the youngest Wimbledon champion through 54 years, after a final which wasn't played (1931) due to injury of his opponent - there hasn't been a walkover in a major final since then (the previous one occurred in 1891)! The man who was a witness of the biggest achievements made by all tennis legends in the history of tennis in span of 80 years (!); from watching guys like Bill Tilden, Rene Lacoste, Henri Cochet, either on the other side of the net or from the perspective of spectators sitting on the grandstand, to observing the current best players like Federer, Nadal or Djokovic in front of the television set. In short, the man who saw all the best players and knew everything about the game. His copious memoirs are included to the book in non-chronological order, there are depicted on-court and off-court stories with figures like his long-time tennis friend Frank Shields (grandfather of Brooke Shields), and famous actors, Charlie Chaplin, Gauncho Marx, Errol Flynn and others, plus his analysis of the best players in history in terms of their successes and their biggest weapons. An obligatory reading for all, who want to know something more about the "mythical" pre-Open era. The book has an interesting structure because Wood's memoirs are enhanced by comments of his son - David.

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Old 12-04-2011, 01:20 PM   #11
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Andre Agassi
"Open. An Autobiography"


When you hear "Agassi" you automatically know he is one of the 10 best players of the Open era. Is he 3rd, 5th or 7th? It depends which criteria we adopt, if the fact he won "golden slam" (4 majors plus Olympic gold medal) is crucial, adding he won also Masters and contributed to the Davis Cup triumph (three times), we can say he is the greatest one, because no other player notched "big 7".

Whatever we can say about his place in the tennis history, it's very interesting to know what makes that a prodigy becomes such a great champion. And the well written, dynamic book (interesting construction, first a vivid description of Agassi's last winning match, then a chronological story of his colorful life) reveals this process, allows to understand how important are other people in someone's success, it tells us that without complicated relations with his father, a help of Gil Reyes in terms of physical fitness, and help of Brad Gilbert considering mentality, Agassi wouldn't have achieved so much. Agassi is not only one of the greatest players, but also an icon of tennis, therefore it's not a book only for tennis fans, it's a book for sport's lovers in general, maybe even for those who aren't interested in sport, because Agassi with his label "image is everything" became an ingredient of the pop-culture. Perhaps it's the reason I had an impression I was reading a novel not an autobiography, there are so many dialogues and monologues...

Obviously it makes an impact on a couple tennis-wise mistakes, nevertheless the book delivers description of prominent matches and on-court nuances concerning different top players. Not too many scorelines out there, but on page No. 97 appear out of nowhere Agassi's 3 scorelines of qualifying rounds to his first main-level tournament which you won't find either on ATP or ITF websites

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Old 12-21-2011, 03:11 AM   #12
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I'd like to read the Bud Collins history book.

Is there a bio anywhere of Juan Carlos Ferrero? He's a player I'd like to know a lot more about.
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:16 AM   #13
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There's very little about Ferrero in Bud's book, Edda, just 1/10 of that info you can find about him on the official ATP website.
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Old 12-25-2011, 01:17 AM   #14
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Open by Agassi - Fantastic
Pete Sampras by Bodi - Excellent
Winning Ugly by Gilbert - Superb
Handful of Summers, Levels of the Game - Classics

Honorable Mentions: Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew, Gardnar Mulloy: The Way It Was, Break Point/Vince Spadea, Sidney Wood: The Wimbledon ThaT Never Was, Hard Courts: John Feinstein.
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:58 PM   #15
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Could you write something about Gilbert's book? I'd like to buy it next year...
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