There have been a number of tennis books written about players in the 70's and 80's, which truly was tennis' rock and roll era. Players like Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, and Vitas Gerulaitis were accorded rock star status by media and fans alike.
Recently, two superb biographies have been written about two of these tennis icons - James Scott Connors and Ilie Nastase.
In Jimmy's biography, the author, Joel Drucker, highly respected tennis journalist and writer, weaves together a fascinating account of Connors' highly complex personality and character.
For anyone who never saw Jimmy play,
you just gotta watch this short video . . .
In his off-beat approach, Drucker not only provides extraordinary insights into what makes Jimmy tick, but also credits tennis' former bad boy with saving his life; so much so that Drucker has titled the book Jimmy Connors Saved My Life: A Personal Biography.
This has to be one of the most compelling tennis books I've read in a long while, partly because of Drucker's clever approach, and partly because of the fascinating insights Drucker provides on the enigmatic Connors in this illuminating work.
While not nearly as well written as Jimmy's biography, Ilie Nastase's autobiography, Mr Nastase, is still a worthwhile read. Having previously read many accounts of Nastase's famous exploits, including both of Richard Evan's books (published in the eighties), I still learned much about this tennis genius.
While on court, Nastase was tempestuous and unpredictable - and sometimes unbelievably funny - off-court he was an extremely endearing character, whose generosity and affable personality made it easy to forgive him (well...almost) for some appalling on court behaviour.
This book provides readers with an open and honest account of a tennis legend whose playing ability was almost matched by his innate ability to entertain - and sometimes infuriate - all who were fortunate enough to see him play.
The third biography I've read in the last few months is called Bad News For McEnroe, written by former player and top tenner, Bill Scanlon.
This book details Scanlon's rivalry with McEnroe from junior days, providing insights that only those who have access to pro tennis' inner circle can provide. While this book is primarily a Scanlon biography, it, among other things, describes the political machinations that shaped the game in the 80's & 90's.
Personally, while this book may not be of general interest to the average fan, I found it to be intelligently written and highly informative. In my book, definitely a keeper!
On a final note, please check back often, as it is my intention to add reviews of new tennis books as they are published.