Courts of Babylon: Tales of Greed and Glory in the Harsh New World of Professional Tennis

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A true insider's book, The Courts of Babylon is both a celebration and a stinging critique of tennis and the cult of celebrity that surrounds it. Beginning in the early 1970s, a new professional sensibility arose in tennis, one that ultimately transformed the game from a country club sport to a high-concept, multimillion-dollar industry. As a writer for Tennis magazine, Peter Bodo was there, chronicling the radical changes in sportsmanship, in the lifestyles of the players, and in the ethics of the sport. Here ...
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Overview

A true insider's book, The Courts of Babylon is both a celebration and a stinging critique of tennis and the cult of celebrity that surrounds it. Beginning in the early 1970s, a new professional sensibility arose in tennis, one that ultimately transformed the game from a country club sport to a high-concept, multimillion-dollar industry. As a writer for Tennis magazine, Peter Bodo was there, chronicling the radical changes in sportsmanship, in the lifestyles of the players, and in the ethics of the sport. Here are the players - Lendl, Evert, Connors, Navratilova, McEnroe, Borg - who have shaped the game for the past generation, and here, too, are the rising stars - Capriati, Agassi, Sampras, Graf - who will lead tennis into the next century.

A true insider's book, this sly, irreverent expose of the personalities, politics, intrigue, and innuendo surrounding the greed-and-ego fueled world of pro tennis leaves no player untouched, from John McEnroe and Steffi Graf to Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, and Martina Navratilova. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tennis was the last major sport to abandon the British ideal of the gentleman amateur, which it did with the advent of so-called open tennis in 1968. The results of that seismic change are detailed in this chronicle by reporter-analyst Bodo, who has covered the sport for two decades for Tennis magazine. The first result in the U.S. was that the amateur game was all but abandoned, with outstanding players often turning pro at the age of 14 or 15, especially girls. The second was the erosion of sportsmanship and its replacement by what Bodo calls the puppy-eat-puppy world of cutthroat young players, the extreme cases being Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. Bodo considers all the factors involved, including parents, coaches, the controlling associations, television, even the born-again Christian movement. But his greatest strength lies in discussing the players, all of whom he likes enough to see the individual beneath the media image. He may veer at times into pop psychoanalysis, but he adduces enough personal data from his in-depth interviews that his portraits have the ring of truth. (July)
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A celebration& a stinging critique of the gentleman's game that grew into a huge industry. Profiles the players, from Conners to Sampras.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684812960
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 5/2/1995
  • Pages: 458

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