ForeWord Reviews

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Tennis Confidential II

More of Today's Greatest Players, Matches, and Controversies

Foreword Review

Any exciting and fulfilling tennis match includes a broad mix of awe-inspiring shots thrown at the opponent, as well as a variety of pacing from the start to the final point. Tennis Confidential II offers all of these things. Readers will enjoy several biographical chapters about many recent, celebrated tennis greats and revealing Q&A interviews with innovators of the game who have influenced and moved the sport forward.

A substantial amount of space is devoted to “the great debates,” which address thought-provoking questions, such as whether tennis or golf is the tougher sport, if on-court coaching should be allowed, and the reasons for the disappearance of fast-paced serve-and-volley games.

The author draws from a wealth of research and personal experience on many levels. He is an award-winning author of numerous magazine articles on tennis, as well as two books on the subject: Tennis Confidential: Today’s Greatest Players, Matches and Controversies and You Can Quote Me on That: Greatest Tennis Quips, Insights and Zingers. He has also been a tennis instructor, college referee, tournament consultant, and a committee chairperson for establishing player rankings. The author isn’t above stirring up the pot with his opinions. Russian women, he says for example, have come on strong in the pro ranks in recent years. Their dominance, with hard-hitting beauties like Anna Kournikova, can be traced to the winning-is-everything mentality fostered at Russian training centers, the lure of big money, and an opening of borders, says the author. “Many of the current crop are also blessed with superb athletic genes,” he adds, noting that many of today’s women prodigies are the offspring of Olympians of several sports.

Some American tennis greats, particularly the men, have, embarrassingly enough, achieved the reputation of being super brats. Jimmy Connors, with his obscene gestures to the spectators, was usually evenly matched in crudeness with John McEnroe and his infamous childish rantings.

Like a game of tennis, the book has something for everyone. Recreational players will likely read it cover-to-cover. Personality watchers can be more than content to limit themselves to the chapters on the colorful characters, skipping the section on rule changes and scoring systems. And the book might be just the impetus couch potatoes need for digging their rackets out of the closet and donning their whites for a few sets.

Karl Kunkel