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Bad News for McEnroe: Blood, Sweat, and Backhands with John, Jimmy, Ilie, Ivan, Bjorn, and Vitas Hardcover – July 29, 2004

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (July 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312332807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312332808
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,674,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Scanlon, a top 10–ranked tennis player in the 1980s, wrote this book partly as a retort to John McEnroe's 2002 autobiography, You Cannot Be Serious. While he deftly depicts "brat-packers" like Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase and, above all, Mac, his attitude toward the successful McEnroe—whom he played on numerous occasions—might strike some as a severe case of sour grapes. McEnroe's antics were "an act, a contrived tactic of someone who would do anything to escape losing," Scanlon writes. But the book isn't all gripes. Scanlon discusses the impact new technologies had on tennis in the '80s and pays homage to the unsung heroes behind the scenes: the coaches, officials, tournament directors and even sports psychologists who try to keep the players mentally stable. What Scanlon does best, however, is dish. The in-fighting among the athletes is reminiscent of cartoon characters going at it, blowing each other up and coming back in the next episode to start all over. Happily for readers, Scanlon is no reformer, just a not-so-humble former player turned writer.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Scanlon was a top-10 tennis player in the 1980s and can claim victories over eight number-one-ranked players. His career encompassed tennis' golden age, when talented personalities took the game from back-page summaries to headline fare. The sport quickly became a big-money entertainment venue with intense press scrutiny, and charismatic bad boy McEnroe was always in the middle of it. Scanlon's title may have readers thinking the book is designed as a response to McEnroe's entertaining but self-serving You Cannot Be Serious (2002), but it's more than that. Jibes toward McEnroe may outnumber those directed at anyone else, but Scanlon's larger purpose is to offer an insider's view of the tennis explosion and the volatile, larger-than-life personalities who fueled it. He describes the increased public recognition, the ever-growing prize money, and the changes in equipment, training methods, court strategy, and coaching. Typically, the enduring appeal of the game itself outlasts the popularity of its stars, but Scanlon describes an era when a sport was eclipsed by its stars. Great reading for tennis fans. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Henderson on January 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When Bill Scanlon played on the professional circuit, he was a solid player. The only time you'd hear him mentioned in the same breath as McEnroe is on his book. The obvious animus he has for McEnroe is really uncalled for. It seems to be merely there to sell the book. Plus, the book is filled with factual inaccuracies--it was Vitas who said, "Nobody beat Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row." It was Barazutti's mark that Connors erased in the Open semifinals, not Vilas'. He has Connors turning to his box with Marjie Wallace and Gloria Connors, while Gloria was in Illinois.
Scaz is a tennis Forrest Gump who injects himself in situations in which he really wasn't a part of. The first 49 pages, though filled with inaccuracies, represent the best part of the book. After that, the reader wants Scaz to pee in the cup, for what he discusses sounds like drug-induced rantings.
He repeatedly says Connors had two bodyguards at the Open, when the two friends Connors had only appeared together with Connors at 2 Opens. But I guess Scaz needed to sell his book by exaggerating minor points like this. Unfortunately, sensationalizing trivial points subtracts from the overall book--for it begs the question what else is he embellishing?
After much ballyhoo, I expected more. This book is Bad News For Avid Tennis Fans.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on September 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an avid tennis player and reader I looked forward to his book. While I enjoyed watching McEnroe and enjoy his broadcasting ability, I can't say I'm much of a fan of his outsized ego. You'd think this book would therefore be much to my liking. Unfortunately, I only found this book mildly entertaining. There are a lot of subjects I liked but nothing that makes this a compelling exciting read for the average fan. Tennis aficionados may still want to read however.

After a brief background Scanlon supports his book title by attempting to hook the reader by blasting McEnroe's gamesmanship in their matches. But unlike Brad Gilbert's book with quality matches against McEnroe and Becker, Scanlon's case is weak as he RARELY beat McEnroe. It almost projects an image of envy spending so much time commenting on McEnroe and frankly, using it in the title to sell the book. Well, it worked in getting my money. OK, McEnroe's an @ss. Now let's move on. But he keeps coming back to it to where eventually it's pitiful.

The book really isn't about Mac other than in a tabloid manner. That's just an excuse to write a memoir about tennis in its greatest era. There is a very good chapter on the evolution of racquets and how that unnerved players who began with wooden racquets. Also, a chapter on fitness focusing on Navratilova and Lendl are quite interesting as well as a chapter on coaching and the evolution of the tennis entourage. But another dear subject to Scanlon which tends to lose the reader is the evolution of the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals). Substantial time is spent here with a chapter on the controversial head Hamilton Jordan. Then we have a complete retelling of the battle inside the tennis establishment.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gaetan Lion on August 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. The book is short and very well written. As a result, it reads as easily and quickly as just a few long articles from a tennis magazine. It is a lot more than just a rebuttal to McEnroe's book "You Can't Be Serious." McEnroe's book, although greatly entertaining was pretty much about McEnroe and not much more. Given whom McEnroe is, that still made for fascinating stuff. This book is not so much about Bill Scanlon, an extremely talented but unknown name outside tennis. Nor is it so much about McEnroe. It is much more about what Scanlon describes as the Golden Era of tennis (70s and 80s) in which he was privileged to participate.

Scanlon, in the shadows of the titans of the sport, had an incredible career that crossed paths with most of the superstars of the modern era. When he got started, he faced a mature Ilea Nastase (10 years his elder). Near his twilight, he faced the new teenage wonder - Andre Agassi. In between, he played against all the demi gods of the games, including Borg, Vilas, Connors, McEnroe, Gerulaitis, Lendl, and even the younger generation of near mythological characters: Becker, Edberg, Wilander.

This book is extremely insightful. The chapters about the fights for the control and governance of the game between the WTC, MIPTC, and the emerging ATP are fascinating. Some of these absurd fights culminated back in 1973, when 79 players boycotted Wimbledon, and Jan Kodes, an athletic East European better known for his clay court performances won Wimbledon due to a truly impoverished men's draw.

Chapter 4 on equipment is also very interesting. It discloses how in the late seventies and early eighties modern graphite racquets took the tennis world by storm.
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