Synopses & Reviews
From stately lawns and gentlemen players to Andre Agassi and Venus Williams: 65 great writings on tennis that chronicle the transformation of the sport.
Since its inception, tennis has embraced traditions more patrician than plebeian. But times--and tennis--have changed. The game once reserved for royalty has moved from estate lawns to the concrete courts of the city. Old guard amateurs have given way to prodigies plastered with corporate logos. And while barriers of gender, race, and class have been shattered, the modern plagues of self-promotion, the paparazzi, and challengers of ever-escalating talent loom large.
In The Right Set, award-winning novelist and editor Caryl Phillips presents a collection of writings on the remarkable evolution of a gentleman's pastime into a sport of jet-set players of athletic and psychological genius. Here are the stories of champions, from the Renshaw twins to "ghetto Cinderella" Venus Williams. Here, too, are volleys between tradition and innovation--debates on everything from etiquette and earnings to André Agassi's rejection of the customary tennis whites. Insightful, informative, wonderfully entertaining, The Right Set is as colorful and surprising as the game itself.
John McPhee on Ashe vs. Graebner
David Higdon on Venus Williams
James Thurber on Helen Wills
Martina Navratilova on Bad Losers
Martin Amis on Smashing the Rackets
About the Author
Caryl Phillips lives in New York and London.
Table of Contents
I. The history of the game: Lawn tennis, the sturdy bastard / Heiner Gillmeister -- The first Wimbledon / A. Wallis Myers -- Lawn tennis in America / Heiner Gillmeister -- The first American championships / Richard D. Sears. II. The great match: The goddess and the American girl / Larry Engelmann -- Lenglen, Wills match at Cannes / James Thurber -- My match against Mlle Lenglen / Helen Wills -- Two queens / Ferdinand Tuohy. III. The old guard: Tilden, the American mountain / Ted Tinling -- Lacoste defeats Tilden in US final / Allison Danzig -- My matches against Helen Wills Moody / Helen Jacobs -- The finest athlete I ever saw / George Lott -- A little bit of luck / Fred Perry. IV. Money and tennis: The show on the road / Fred Perry -- The lowdown on amateur tennis / Pancho Gonzalez -- Pancho and the challenge / Lew Hoad -- Grooming Monica / Nick Bollettieri. V. Race and nationality: Cernik and I choose exile / Jaroslav Drobny -- Levels of the game / John McPhee -- The Davis Cup / Arthur Ashe -- The commuter / Martina Navratilova -- States / Martina Navratilova -- Venus, the great experiment / David Higdon -- The burden of race / Arthur Ashe. VI. Women and tennis: Tennis for the ladies / Heiner Gillmeister -- Always on the cusp / Billie Jean King -- Ladies of the evening / Martina Navratilova -- The forbidden zone / Michael Mewshaw. VII. Artistry and psychology: Footwork and the preservation of rhythm and balance / Suzanne Lenglen -- Winning / Althea Gibson -- The style of Rod Laver / Julius D. Heldman -- Levels of the game / John McPhee -- The mental aspects of tennis / Martina Navratilova. VIII. The modern personalities: You've come a long way, Billie / Grace Lichtenstein -- Chris Evert, the cold and absolute fire / Peter Bodo -- Jimmy Connors / Rich Koster -- Becker / Gordon Burn -- Educating Andre / Martha Sherrill. IX. Tradition and the game: Lawn tennis / Robert D. Osborn -- Etiquette / Helen Wills -- Court manners and etiquette / Rod Laver -- 'You cannot be serious' / John Feinstein -- Tennis personalities / Martin Amis -- My life with Gabriela Sabatini / Alistair Cooke.