Best tennis book ever?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by JAY1, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    Has anyone read Doug Henderson jnr's book 'Endeavour to Persevere'?

    It really is the most incredible, clever, insightful book on tennis you are ever likely to read!
    If you compare either Agassi, Mcenroe or Becker's books to it, well actually they don't compare at all.
    It's amazing!
     
    #1
  2. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    "Les cannibales du tennis" by jean Couvercelle in 1979...do you know if there is any reprinted book in the world?
     
    #2
  3. jayoub95

    jayoub95 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    'Open' by Andre Agassi :)
     
    #3
  4. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,234
    Open was written by J. R. Moehringer. Let's give credit where it's due.
     
    #4
  5. jayoub95

    jayoub95 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    ^It's by Andre Agassi, part of the credit goes to that other guy J. R. Moehringer.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
    #5
  6. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    'Open' It's interesting....

    but so badly written!
     
    #6
  7. jayoub95

    jayoub95 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    C'mon man i loved reading it. So interesting...
     
    #7
  8. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,115
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Well, it was funny reading Agassi's reaction to Muster ruffling his tupee at the 1994 French Open. LOL. And here was me thinking Muster was being friendly at the time :)
     
    #8
  9. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,774
    Location:
    Hotel CA
    "The Game" by Jack Kramer

    Im biased as I was always a big Kramer fan and like his spin on the history of the game leading to open tennis. If your a Pancho Gonzales fan or supporter, you may not like the Kramer version soo much or may want to read Panchos "Man with a Racket". One of the best on what led to the current game is Bud Collins' Tennis Encyclopedia. Another excellent candidate would be The Tennis Book: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of World Tennis with several authors including writer and broadcaster John Parsons, who covered tennis for more than 30 years. He also wrote The Official Wimbledon Annuals for 20 years
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
    #9
  10. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2004
    Messages:
    1,066
    Ed Faulkner's Tennis: How to Play it, How to Teach It

    For instruction, I would have to say _Ed Faulkner's Tennis: How to Play it, How to Teach It_

    Most books only gave advice and suggestions as to how to hit the strokes; the book enumerated dozens of specific variations shown with photo sequences, and for each variation the book told whether it was tolerable -- or whether the it was something that was just plain incorrect and which the instructor would need to make the pupil change.

    It is from this authority that I know that the techniques which significantly improved my game of late, which are based on what today's pros are doing, are in fact incorrect.
     
    #10
  11. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    My quick take on several I've read, I’m sure I’m leaving out a couple:

    Agassi's Open, very much a tell-all and interesting reading though I came away with a less favorable opinion of the man himself in the end. But that’s OK since he put himself out there for just that.

    Blake's book, more inspirational but less about the actual tennis and more about his family and personal challenges. Good read but don’t look for a lot of tennis junkie stuff.

    Sampras, very dry probably much like the man himself, reads like Wikipedia, less insight and you can tell that Bodo was writing it and would say stuff like, "Hey Pete, we have to talk about that running forehand of yours and your leaping overhead". OK at best


    McEnroe, pretty insightful but you always get the feeling that he isn't quite telling the whole story, definitely left out the details such as the drug use of his tennis friends other questions you would have liked answered. Unlike Agassi, he wasn't willing to throw others under the bus.

    John Feinstein's book on the year in the life of a pro player. Takes you thru the entire season on the pro tour. Very insightful and you learn a lot about the appearance fees being greater than the actual prize money but he definitely won't go so far as to call a spade a spade and doesn't really ask the hardball questions of the players that you might have liked but then he realizes that had he done that, then the players would have denied him access for sure. You still get a lot of inside knowledge that you probably didn't know since you won't hear the players talk about it.

    Laver's book written by Bud Collins, very good read if you came up in tennis at that time like I did and opposite of Agassi, where you come away with a better opinion of the man than before (and I highly respected the man before). Talked about the amateur pro conundrum and those formative years. Very humble guy and I don’t think that Collins painted it that way, yet it still comes thru.

    Kramer's book a must read if you are interested in the history of the game as he was the link between the distant past and the development of the present pro tour. Doesn't hesitate to tell it like it was but was gracious towards many of the forgotten names like Riggs in his prime and Vines. The man was big on the court in the way he changed the game but his off court work really changed the game, quite the visionary.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
    #11
  12. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Mike mershaw in 1983 published a book with all interiorities of the 1982 WCT/GP tours in 10 0r 12 evets related chapters.

    I also enjoyed the great Carnival at Forest Hills.

    The Feinstein book is OK, ut Mershaw´s is quite better.
     
    #12
  13. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    12,746
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I liked Pam Shrivers, I think Passing shots was the name, she was pretty candid, talked about life being mistaken for being lesbian, how annoying certain other players were and made Carling Bassett sound like a fun chick.
     
    #13
  14. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,234
    "It's by Andre Agassi, part of the credit goes to that other guy J. R. Moehringer."

    Yes, part. Agassi told "that other guy" his story and passed on some notes maybe. Credit Agassi that. "That other guy" then wrote the book.
     
    #14
  15. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    kiki, I'll look for that one, got any links, can't seem to find it. Thanks.

    Has anyone read Becker's book? Wondering if it was worth the read?
     
    #15
  16. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,234
    "I also enjoyed the great Carnival at Forest Hills."

    I read that when I was a wee lad. And then more recently I bought it again for around $2 on Amazon and I read it again.
     
    #16
  17. PowerPlay

    PowerPlay Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    103
    Best

    Instructional: "Winning Ugly" or Allen Fox's books
    Biography: "Open" or Rafa

    Worst
    Sampras' book was like watching paint dry. Terrible.
     
    #17
  18. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    I forgot about reading Brad Gilbert's book, good at focusing on the mental and tactical aspects of the game. The man may be the best at achieving the most with the least.

    Definitely looking forward to Connors' book this summer but I wonder how it may be tempered since it will have been written so long after the facts.
     
    #18
  19. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    Hey Kiki,
    Do you know what Mike Mershaw's book was called?
    I'm having trouble finding it online.
    Many thanks
    Jay
     
    #19
  20. Stuart S

    Stuart S New User

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Yes, looking forward to that one very much. True, it'll be hard for him to cast his mind back almost 40 years. I hope his recall's good.

    I also hope he's honest in it. Mac had some good things to say about Connors in his own book; but he also criticised him for, among other things, meagre Davis Cup participation. I hope Jimbo is honest and gives us some clue why he wasn't too interested in representing his country.

    So yes, I'm looking forward to Connors' book with eager anticipation. I just hope it's not a bit of an anti-climax!
     
    #20
  21. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    It is from 1983 or so, so I don´t recall it too well.I´d say it was called something like " Shortcircuits"
     
    #21
  22. Stuart S

    Stuart S New User

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    Kiki's right, "Short Circuit" follows the men's tour for six months in 1982, hence the snappy title.

    I recall reading it about 30 years ago. Really good stuff, goes behind the scenes a lot too. Especially statisfying for Connors fans!
     
    #22
  23. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    Thank you KiKi & Stuart!!
    I just ordered it on Kindle!
    Can't wait to read it!
     
    #23
  24. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    #24
  25. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    If Jimmy Connors autobiography lives up to the potential we all know it has, what with the personality he has, the number of different eras/players he competed in/with, this could be the greatest tennis book ever.
    I just hope does'nt pull any punches and is objective as anyone possibly can be.
     
    #25
  26. CoachDad

    CoachDad Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    Messages:
    183
    This is the silliest way of looking at it I have ever seen. All the content, all the stories, came from Agassi. The author put them in a readable form. Had Agassi not given the author so much great stuff the book would have stunk.
     
    #26
  27. bjk

    bjk Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,531
    Pat McEnroe's book was semi-interesting. I think there must have been a page minimum, because Bodo (I think he was the ghostwriter) stuffs in a ton of Wiki material. "Australia is a beautiful country, located in the southern hemisphere, with four seasons and" etc. etc. But if you know how to skip that stuff and get to the McEnroe material, it's a good read. The story he tells about being Don Imus' whipping boy is telling and a little sad, and give you an idea of his determination, sometimes at the cost of his self-respect.

    Vince Spadea's book is also good. Judging from the book, his biggest problem was finding a coach who gave a hoot about his career. My only criticism is that he should have chronicled his winnings and expenses to show how much a player really makes.

    Blakes book is a complete whitewash. Blake is not going to tell you what's really happening, I don't think Blake is too good at being honest with himself. (Spadea also comes down on the side of "Blake is a fake.")

    Gilbert's book is the best of the how to play genre.
     
    #27
  28. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,380
    Good read is John McPhee, both his Ashe-Graebner book 'Levels of the Game' and his Wimbledon book 'Wimbledon. A Celebration'. Best descriptions of players styles maybe Rex Bellamy, 'Love thirty'. Fine biography: Frank Deford, 'Big Bill Tilden'. Fine tennis history: Gianni Clerici, '500 years of Tennis'.
    Best tennis essay: Erich Kästner, 'Tennis. Duel on Distance'.
     
    #28
  29. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    With such a big ego, you´ll have to get the truth reading cross lines¡¡¡
     
    #29
  30. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    2,234
    "The author put them in a readable form."

    Yup. Just put it in readable form and call me in the morning. Nothing much going on here folks. Just writing a book. Who shall we say wrote it ? Whatever.
     
    #30
  31. heftylefty

    heftylefty Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,562
    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    My top 4:
    Hard Courts by John Feinstein
    Open by Agassi
    Portrait in Motion by Ashe
    Bad News for McEnroe by Bill Scanlon
     
    #31
  32. OriginalHockeytowner

    OriginalHockeytowner Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Michigan
    I really enjoyed "High Strung: Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, and the Untold Story of Tennis's Fiercest Rivalry." It reads like a significantly more objective "Bad News For McEnroe," and I found the last chapter to be quite moving.
     
    #32
  33. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    The one problem I had with Bad News for McEnroe by Bill Scanlon was there were several obvious inaccuracies within the book and so therefore I wondered how much was conjecture vs. fact.
     
    #33
  34. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    How could I get the High Strung book? looks great¡¡¡
     
    #34
  35. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Scanlon and Mc Enroe were never the best friends...Bill even stayed around with Lendl, the only thing in common they shared was their hate for mac.
     
    #35
  36. SVP

    SVP Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Messages:
    335
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Levels of the Game

    Like joe sch, I'm an an old school sort of guy (born pre 1960) and partial to older books. To me, "Levels of the Game" by the noted writer John McPhee hits the spot. It starts out with a match pitting Clark Graebner v. Arthur Ashe and takes the reader across a lyrical portrait of the entire tennis history landscape. It's not a bang-bang point against point type of tennis book.
     
    #36
  37. OriginalHockeytowner

    OriginalHockeytowner Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Michigan
    Amazon has it :) both Kindle and hardcover editions
     
    #37
  38. OriginalHockeytowner

    OriginalHockeytowner Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Michigan
    Also, I find it sorta surprising that no one has mentioned Sampras' book.

    Really the only thing that makes it enjoyable is juxtaposing everything Pete says about his relationship with Andre, with what Andre has to say about Pete in "Open"!
     
    #38
  39. jmnk

    jmnk Professional

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    Messages:
    998
    "Break Point" by Vince Spadea was pretty interesting. Seems an honest account of tennis pro. Not a star, just a solid pro.
     
    #39
  40. Herdsman76

    Herdsman76 Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    308
    Definitely "Hard Courts" by John Feinstein.....
     
    #40
  41. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    See response #11:
    Sampras (book), very dry probably much like the man himself, reads like Wikipedia, less insight and you can tell that Bodo was writing it and would say stuff like, "Hey Pete, we have to talk about that running forehand of yours and your leaping overhead". OK at best
     
    #41
  42. OriginalHockeytowner

    OriginalHockeytowner Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Michigan
    Good catch, I missed that. Honestly, it's not THAT bad!
     
    #42
  43. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    2,007
    Feinstein's book I enjoyed a lot.

    Who wrote The Courts of Babylon? That was also a good read about that era.
     
    #43
  44. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    yeah¡ it was pretty good.Similar to Mershaw´s Shortcircuit.
     
    #44
  45. Miami Tiburon

    Miami Tiburon Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Messages:
    540
    The Guru of tennis by Pato Alvarez but I think it's out of print at this time. The Drills are insane and worth the price of the book just to
    have them .
     
    #45
  46. robow7

    robow7 Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Messages:
    968
    No, the true Guru of tennis had to be Tim Galloway with the "Inner Game of Tennis" in 74' See the ball..... be the ball ! Ha

    That one never clicked with me.
     
    #46
  47. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    Messages:
    2,350
    Location:
    Bradenton, FL
    Hard Courts
    Open Agassi
    Sampras book
    Levels of the Game
    Winning Ugly
    Break Point (Spadea)
    Inside Tennis (Bodo)
    Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew
    Topspin
    Strokes of Genius

    (so many, these are not in any order)
     
    #47
  48. lefty10spro

    lefty10spro Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    "A Handful of Summers" by Gordon Forbes is the best and I have read them all. Life on the tour in the 50s and 60s and it alternates between poetic and hilarious. Good luck finding a copy!
    Best instructional is "Play Better Tennis in 2 Hours" by Oscar Wegner. Horrible title - only instructional book you will ever need. Most books of this genre are absolute crap.
     
    #48
  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    LÉquipe tennis expert Judith Elian and Tennis Magazine editor Jean Couvercelle wrotte a great book with chapters specifically dedicated to the greats of the 1970´s: Laver,Rosewall,Ashe,Nastase,Newcombe,Connors,Borg,Orantes,Panatta,Vilas and Gerulaitis ( surpprisingly no JMac ) and with a vivid outlook on tennis from 1920´s to the dawn of the Open Era.Comments are quite personnal, but very enjoyful to read.
     
    #49
  50. JAY1

    JAY1 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2011
    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    London
    Hi Kiki,
    As I mentioned before, you really know your tennis, but am I right in thinking you really dislike Connors?
    And if so, could you tell me why?
    I'm interested, because when I was growing up (I was 10 when he won the 78 US open final .v. Borg) , he was a huge idol of mine. But as i've got older i've realised he was a real arse especially in his early years.
    But in saying that, i've recently acquired a number of his early Grand Slam finals. 2 from 1974, 3 from 1975, 1 from 1976, 2 from 1977 and 2 from 1978 and without a doubt he was/is the most exciting/go for broke/high energised player that I think has ever played the game! He revolutionised the game like no other player has ever done, before or after.
    He's certainly not the best male player ever and probably just ranks inside the top ten players of all time.
    So therefore I have very mixed feelings about him now....

    On court...He was without equal, regarding the excitement he brought to the game, plus he was totally captivating.
    Off court... I'm pretty sure he was an arse/punk!

    What does everyone think, i'm really interested?!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
    #50

Share This Page