View Full Version : New Book On Fed And Rafa (or Rafa and Fed)

04-14-2009, 02:15 PM
some of you may have known jon wertheim of sports illustrated has been writing a book about both centering around last year's wimby final...well, it's coming out mid may and steve flink has a detailed first review at www.tennischannel.com the book is structured similarly to john mcphee's levels of the game about ashe and graebner...since that's the main debate here, rafa vs. fed, it might be worth a read..oh, it's called Strokes Of Genius, and you can see the cover at the website "flink on wertheim"

Moose Malloy
04-14-2009, 02:27 PM

I have read a number of interviews previously with Uncle Toni, and in most cases he seemed reluctant to reveal much of substance. But he may well be the star of Wertheim’s book. Here he is portrayed in a different light, and it is more apparent than ever that his influence with his famous nephew has been even more far reaching than we ever knew. Moreover, Wertheim’s savvy reporting takes us into the locker room during the two rain delays, and we are drawn into some fascinating dialogue between player and mentor. As Wertheim describes the conversation between Uncle Toni and Nadal during the rain delay at 2-2 in the fifth set, a remarkable role reversal takes place as Nadal reassures his uncle and urges him to stay calm.

Reflecting on the role of Uncle Toni in “Strokes of Genius”, Wertheim says, “A lot of the information from him came when I spoke to him at the U.S. Open. If you stuck a microphone in his face that Sunday night at Wimbledon after the match, you wouldn’t get the same stuff he would say in a more relaxed environment later on. Uncle Toni is a fascinating guy. I think Nadal’s tennis is terrific but as a subject I had a hard time [with him] because he is a tough nut to crack. That is part of what makes him so good. Even in press conferences, when he gets asked something that is personal and isn’t about forehands and backhands, he is very guarded and he usually gives an uncolorful response.”

Not so with Uncle Toni. As Wertheim pointed out to me, “Uncle Toni is very thoughtful. In tennis we are sort of prejudiced when we see a family member coaching a player. We assume the worst. But this guy Uncle Toni really knows his tennis and is very smart and a bit of an eccentric. He is not what we are used to in that role. You hear about a tennis player’s uncle coaching him and instinctively roll your eyes and assume it is only a matter of time until that player gets smart and finds a real coach. But Uncle Toni is really a great tennis mind, and I don’t think a lot of people knew that.”

That comes through clearly and unmistakably in “Strokes of Genius.” Uncle Toni knows the game ever so thoroughly, and has an innate understanding of Rafael Nadal that no one else could even approach. In turn, he has a sixth sense of what the current world champion might do at any given moment. As Wertheim uncovers in the book, just before Nadal prepared to hit a second serve at 5-2 in the fourth set tie-break against Federer at Wimbledon---- with a golden chance to reach quadruple match point--- Uncle Toni had a sinking feeling about what would occur a moment later. He turned to agent Carlos Costa and predicted his charge would double fault, which is exactly what happened.