Mix it Up, Make it Nice: Secrets of a Tennis Mom

Overview

James Blake's rise to the elite of the tennis world could be considered improbable, even verging on the impossible. Betty Blake shares the story of a bratty kid who wore a back brace for 18 hours each day to correct severe scoliosis, never attended a tennis academy, received early tennis training on public tennis courts, grew up in New England's six-month outdoor tennis season, and yet rose to the top 30 in the tennis world.
Just as James's future looked rosiest, with the media ...

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Overview

James Blake's rise to the elite of the tennis world could be considered improbable, even verging on the impossible. Betty Blake shares the story of a bratty kid who wore a back brace for 18 hours each day to correct severe scoliosis, never attended a tennis academy, received early tennis training on public tennis courts, grew up in New England's six-month outdoor tennis season, and yet rose to the top 30 in the tennis world.
Just as James's future looked rosiest, with the media speculating how high he could climb, he suffered a series of life-altering tragedies. In 2004 he broke his neck in a freak accident with a net post, watched his father die a lingering death from cancer, then, due to the strain of these experiences, he contracted shingles, which paralyzed half his face and affected his vision, hearing and balance, making his tennis future uncertain and resulting in his ranking plummeting to 210.
Not one to give in to despair, James fought back. As soon as his doctors allowed, he began practicing again, working harder than ever, and by the end of 2006 he stood once again at the top of the tennis world, his position at number four making him the highest-ranked American tennis player.

But there's more to the story than that. Betty Blake shows how James and his older brother Thomas were raised in a biracial middle-class family by an African American father and a white mother from England. Both boys attended Harvard and both became tennis professionals. A first-class education was by design, a tennis career was not. Education, rather than a tennis academy, was always the top priority in the Blake household.
"Today many youngsters who exhibit talent are uprooted from their families and whisked off to a tennis academy," writes Betty. "There they spend more time on the court than on schoolwork."
Tom and Betty Blake rejected this for two reasons; they refused to break up the family and would never compromise their sons' educations. Betty writes how Tom disciplined his sons with love and encouraged them to work hard and make the most of their talents. Thomas, three years older than James, blazed the trail for James to follow in school, in junior tennis and in college. Looking up to and competing with his brother helped shape James's determination to excel in both academics and sports.
Betty Blake's reflections address race relations in our society, individual identity and how their sons' ethnicity helped them be at ease in any situation. These are the foundation for Mix It Up, Make It Nice: Secrets of a Tennis Mom.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780615373751
  • Publisher: Fay Publishing LLC
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 26, 2010

    Recommended

    As one of the author's 4 sons (most people erroneously believe there are only 2), I can confirm that the account of James's upbringing is valid. No, the family was far from idealist (or idealict as noted by the prior reviewer) but that is the point. This book shows how it is possible to develop someone into a professional athlete even though they are not born into a family where they are provided with every advantage.

    The book should be considered by anyone who is raising a child and hoping to develop him or her into a professional athlete. My mother and James's father did an outstanding job with James and this book can provide valuable tips on how to bring up a child.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2010

    All Lies.She is a fraud!

    This book is based on lies. Integrity isn't in her vocabulary. They weren't this idealict family. Betty Walker, NOT Betty Blake, can't even tell the truth about her name and martial status. Just one of many lies told in this book! The creation of a star has come at the expense of many other people. Read this with caution. They want the story to sound good, but it isnt. She is a fraud. I would rather read a tabloid then this garbage.

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