The Right Set: A Tennis Anthology

Overview

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, ...

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The Right Set: A Tennis Anthology

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Overview

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 and more

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Award-winning British novelist and playwright Phillips The Nature of Blood, LJ 1/97 has compiled a delightful and revelatory sampler of 65 pieces divided into nine sections that cumulatively underscore the inherent tension generated by tennis's staid traditions, eccentric personalities, and innovations. Some of the most eloquent and articulate voices in the literary tennis canon are represented: there are excerpts from John McPhee's classic Levels of the Game and John Feinstein's Hard Courts, Arthur Ashe's beautiful commentaries in "The Burden of Race" and "The Davis Cup," and James Thurber's review of a Lenglen-Wills match. Phillips strikes an oddly comfortable balance between historical and contemporary voices, sometimes yielding interesting surprises, as in Rich Koster's 1976 profile of "bad boy" Jimmy Connors, who speaks of getting a rush from the crowd's hostility but who in the twilight of his career came to embrace and seek out audience support and adoration. A fun read for all tennis fans.--Barry X. Miller, Austin P.L., TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375706462
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: First Vintage Books Original Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 327
  • Product dimensions: 5.21 (w) x 7.88 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Caryl Phillips lives in New York and London.
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