Writer and editor

Grand Slams of Tennis

7 May 2015 by Paz, Comments Off on Grand Slams of Tennis
    Evans Eamon - Grand Slams of Tennis

    Legends, feuds, tennis dads and one-slam wonders.

    ‘This had me laughing out loud. It’s unlike any other book about tennis that you might have picked up.’
    Jon Faine, ABC radio

    Seeing this is the time of year that we become a tennis nation again for a fortnight, this book is certainly worth picking up. While the author Evans is a self-described tennis tragic, you think he wouldn’t mind a subtle putdown about Australian Open hysteria, considering this book is full of his own glib musings about the game. On the Aussie Open: ‘Often described as the world’s best tournament – not least, by the people who run it’ On how Margaret Court was shy: ‘Victims of homophobia would be better off if she could get some of that pre-Godshyness back’ On the tennis game of Friends star Matthew Perry: ‘… was a nationally ranked junior. Though on the other hand, his nation was Canada’ Fun stuff, and a good diversion during too-long injury timeouts this summer.
    ****
    Sports Illustrated

    ‘Some people take their tennis very, very seriously. You only had to see the fierce exchanges between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in the Australian Open final to know that is true. Eamon Evans, on the other hand, is a great fan of tennis but doesn’t take it quite so seriously. This might be because after he practised and practised as a child only to discover he was ‘deeply crap’, he has decided to have a laugh at it. After giving an hilarious overview of the history of tennis and its arcane scoring system, Evans turns to the Grand Slams. He pokes fun at the history of each, then raises a chuckle over some of the character types associated with Grand Slams as well as some of the great dummy spits and champions. This is not meant to be a comprehensive history, but Evans picks out some of the best bits and finds plenty of humour in most.’
    Daily Telegraph

     

    Extract

    ‘I have always considered tennis as a combat in an arena between two gladiators who have their racquets and their courage as their weapons.’

    Thanks for that, Yannick Noah. I myself believe it’s more like a game.
    A good game, though, I hasten to add – and for a while there, I wasn’t half bad. Like most child prodigies, I discovered tennis at the age of six or seven, after coming across an old wooden racquet in the back of a cupboard. After a year or so of hitting a ball against a wall, I enrolled in lessons at my local tennis club, and at ten I started entering tournaments. Passers-by used to marvel at my unconventional service action, while my backhand was hailed by experts as being both ‘memorable’ and ‘unique’.

    When I hit sixteen, it was time to turn pro. Or, rather, it would have been but for one slight problem. Unlike most child prodigies, it had slowly emerged, I was in fact deeply crap. The thrill of a well-placed forehand, the rush of a crisp half-volley: both these sensations remain foreign to me, though I can tell you all about double faults. Walt Disney once said, ‘All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them,’ but believe me, folks, he’s wrong.

    Fortunately, tennis superstardom wasn’t my only childhood dream: I also wanted my very own television. And now that I have one (sorry to boast), I can watch superstars play whenever I want. Which, of course, means that I watch them four times a year. During the Australian Open and the French Open, then during Wimbledon and the US Open.

    Most tennis tournaments, let’s be honest here, are about as important as pumpkin soup. If your favourite player happens to lose the Paine Webber Classic one week, he’s got the Birmingham Open the next. If she happens to miss out on the BNP Paribas Masters, then there’s always the Ameritech Cup. Not too many children would dream about winning the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open. Or indeed be able to spell the Aegon Classic.

    But the Grand Slams, they are different. They are, well, grand. The big four tournaments on the tennis calendar are big in every sense of the word: they feature the most players and they fork out the most prize money; they have the shiniest trophies and the noisiest crowds. To win one is to win a ridiculous number of number points, and a ridiculous number of headlines all over the globe. It’s at the Grand Slams that reputations are won and lost, and it’s at the Grand Slams that legends are made.

    So why are they such a big deal? Well, that, my friends, is a complicated question, and for an answer, you’ll need to read the whole book. But let’s just say that that these four tournaments involve a whole lot of history: a whole lot of great players playing great matches, or having great rivalries or great dummy spits. They involve a whole lot of fans going coo coo bananas, and a whole lot of sex, drugs and fun.

    In The Grand Slams of Tennis, I give you the best bits of this history (along with all the basic whos, whens, wheres and whys). If you want to know how some obscure Bulgarian fared in the 1973 French Open, then this may not be the best book for you. But when it comes to which world number one ‘has always been unfaithful to her boyfriends,’ and which number two later became a nun, then the answers that you need are all here. Also, which players have been arrested, and which ones liked to take drugs? What Grand Slam winner like to play without underpants, and which one never changes her socks? Whose game was held up by a gunshot, and what exactly did Boris Becker do in that broom cupboard? Who slept with who? Who wore a wig? And what was tennis history’s most dramatic death threat? From bankruptcy and battery to bitchiness and brandy, a great many threads have gone into making the grand tapestry that we call the Grand Slams.
    But don’t just take my word for it. Please get out your credit card and buy it instead.

     

    Where to buy

    Australia and NZ: Booktopia
    UK: Amazon UK
    USA: Amazon US

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