Tennis Books

Red DirtFor those tennis players who read fiction there is something new and rather rare on the horizon: a novel that is a tennis story. In addition, there are many tennis “how to’s” and life stories that are worth reading.

Red Dirt

Written by Joe Samuel Starnes, a friend of Joe McAleer’s (but don’t hold that against him!), Red Dirt is the story of Jaxie Skinner, an unlikely professional tennis player from a blue-collar family in the sticks of rural Georgia who takes up the game at the age of three when his father scrapes a court out of the red clay behind their farmhouse. The book was just released and is available at

I have read the book and it is enjoyable. According to the promotional material, “A fascinating study of tennis, its demands and tactics, as well as a look at the insular and often selfish character required to reach the pinnacle of the sport, Red Dirt is the Rocky of tennis novels.”

My “Senior Tennis” Book

Online and tennis shop sales have now reached 350 for my newly-published book. Thanks to all who have bought and said kind words. For more info, click on the link in the upper-right corner.

Some Other Tennis Books

(brief highlights from Chapter 8 of my book)

Jeff Greenwald: “The Best Tennis of Your Life”
For the tennis player looking to improve the mental part of their game, there is a great little book I have been reading and re-reading.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJoel Drucker: Jimmy Connors Saved My Life
Written by noted tennis columnist (and fellow Newk Camper) Joel Drucker, this is labeled a personal biography; but is equally a semi-biography of Jimmy Connors.

Brad Gilbert: Winning Ugly
Brad Gilbert’s classic tennis instructional book is for the thinking tennis player — one who wants not only to improve his physical, but mental skills on the court.

andre bookAndre Agassi: Open… An Autobiography
Sorry Andre, but I enjoyed reading your book; but not for the “big disclosures” about taking drugs or hating tennis … but because it is a fascinating TENNIS book.

Pat McEnroe: “Hardcourt Confidential”
This is a good read. 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.

Raphael Nadal: “Rafa: My Story”
This 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.

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.

seles2Monica Seles: “Getting a Grip”
This is an interesting look at her tennis life through her eyes. Monica’s story is focused around her obsessive and binge eating disorder, which saw her gain 40 pounds during her playing days.

Paul Rutherford: The Bahama Triangle:
Written by fellow Newk Camper, Paul Rutherford, this book is a fast-moving action book about a tennis pro, who gets involved with some interesting characters after leaving the tour and teaching at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

What good tennis books have you read??

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8 thoughts on “Tennis Books

  1. I’m betting that I’m pretty odd in that _Technical Tennis_ is my favorite tennis book. 🙂

    Kevin – regardless of your book selection, your self description is pretty accurate! 🙂 george

  2. I still think the 1972, The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by Timothy Gallwey is worth reading. It’s even available on as an audiobook.

    Paul – Strangely, i have never read; but will someday. thanks, george

  3. A few favorites (along with Joel’s book):

    Levels of the Game by John McPhee

    Days of Grace by Arnold Rampersad and Arthur Ashe

    The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese

    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
    This amazing (but crazy) novel is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, DFW’s essays about Roger Federer, Michael Joyce, and playing tennis in the wind are not to be missed:

    Joe – a good list! thanks. george

  4. THE TENNIS PLAYER by Abraham Verghese. This is a true story which is not a “how to” book, but a true story about a complicated friendship between a doctor and his intern who was a former tennis pro. Verghese, the doctor, says “our tennis partnership was special, different, sacred like a marriage”. Very engaging read.

    Dave – i will put on my list. thanks, george

  5. Match Point by Marty Reissen. Published in the mid-70’s, I got mine from some bookstore in London. An interesting account of the transition from shamateur to professional tennis.

    JB – i didnt know of that one by Marty. thanks. george

  6. Er….. Match Play And The Spin Of The Ball?

    Marty (you shortest reply ever!) thanks, george

  7. Just read “Pain, Set, Match” by long-time ATP athletic trainer, Bill Norris. Although it could have been a tell all book, Bill has too much class to do that. Nice, easy read about his life on the tour of more then 30 years. I would highly recommend it.

    Larry – thanks. george

  8. Big Bill Tilden by Frank Deford
    Man with a Racket ( the Pancho Gonzales Autobiography ) by Cy Rice
    and believe it or not : Changing the Game by Nick Bollettieri

    I like Match Point by Marty Reissen , too

    Willy – good list! i now have a lot of summertime reading to do. george

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