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Every tennis fan should have it
A tennis encyclopedia should be authoritative, comprehensive, accurate and easy to use. "The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book" is all of that. As a bonus, it's also superbly written. We take "Open Tennis" for granted now with its big stars, big prize money and big media coverage. But it wasn't always that way. Here's how Collins talks about a breakthrough year: "It took a long time, and many failed attemps, but a wave of sanity finally coursed through the boardrooms of the game in 1967. When the dust settled, the most obvious result -- a tremendous surge in the popularity of the game -- made everyone wonder anew why it had taken so long." On Monica Seles's being knifed in the back by a deranged Graf fan, Collins wrote: "The Seles Saga was without question the most significant story of 1993, transcending the sport, reminding everyone that even in the relatively tranquil world of tennis, random acts of violence could take place." The highly informative biographies of the stars and near-stars are also terrific. On Jimmy Connors: "Fiery of temperament and shotmaking, this lefty with a two-fisted backhand pounded foes for more than two professional decades in rip-roaring baseline style, a rag doll throwing himself into his groundies with utter gusto. Often controversial, he fought verbally with opponents, officials and the crowd." Indexes aren't usually mentioned in reviews, but this index is excellent, which makes searching for a player, tournament, record or statistic easy and fast. Whether it's the personalities, the politics, the playing styles, the bitter and friendly rivalries, quirks, ironies and humor, this history book -- I say that because it makes tennis history come to life -- is a combination of reference book and multi-biography and literary treasure.<BR/>Once you start reading it, you can't stop. It's addictive, but in a wonderful way.
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