Three Tennis Books

Here are capsule reviews of three tennis biographies that I have read. Some are worth the time, others not.

“Hardcourt Confidential” by Pat McEnroe. This is a good read, if you are really interested in the game, the politics, and the people. Patrick talks about his life as being “Perfect Patrick, the nice McEnroe ” and the people he interacted with as his career morphed from modestly-successful player to a top tennis broadcaster. It is interesting insight into the life of someone “near the top” of the game and how he lived life in the shadow of his flamboyant brother.

“Rafa: My Story” is the co-authored autobiography of Rafael Nadal and is a very interesting tennis story. Rafa details how he grew up on a somewhat isolated Spanish island with his Uncle Toni being his life-long, hard-driving coach. And how that upbringing and that culture shaped him into being the two different people he became: the shy, quiet, unconfident off-court person who “transformed himself” through pre-match rituals and mental power to being the powerful, leaping, arm-pumping champion on the court.

Pete Sampras’ “A Champion’s Mind.” This book is mostly a chronology of Pete Sampras’ tennis career, tournament by tournament. He spends a fair amount of time defending himself for being labeled “a boring” tennis player; and as such, writes a fairly boring book. Compared to Andre’s book, which has most of it dedicated to his flamboyant and up-and-down career, Pete’s book focuses mostly on his matches, his goals, and his thoughts to reaching them. Perhaps, as the author admits himself, he really did NOT have a life outside of tennis.

What tennis books have you read that are worth the time (or not)?

4 thoughts on “Three Tennis Books

  1. I read those books and agree with your assessments. Two others that are very good are “The Rivals” about Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, and Agassi’s book. I never liked Andre but after reading his story I like him more.

    Bill – yes, i enjoyed Andre’s book (and i DID also like him as a player). george

  2. If you have not read “A Handful of Summers ” , you will enjoy it . Great stories similar to those we hear from our Tennis Fantasies Legends .

    Steve – Tks, someone else also mentioned that one to me the other day. george

  3. i learned the game of tennis reading the book “Rod Laver’s Illustrated Book How to Play Tennis”. one of the lines in the book i remember was “……never pick the racket up in the western grip (that’s the grip you have when you pick it up the racket lying on the ground). it’s an extreme grip rarely used…..”.
    “Total Tennis” by Chuck Kriese (sp.?) had a chapter about competition that was awesome.

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