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Double Fault: My Rise and Fall, and My Road Back Hardcover – September 1, 2005

10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Roscoe Tanner vividly shares how easy it is to lose one’s way in the world of professional sports. I commend him for being so candid with a story that reminds us that no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done, it’s never too late to seek redemption." —Michael Chang, the youngest Grand Slam winner in history at the age of 17

From the Inside Flap

Roscoe Tanner battled Bjorn Borg in the first Breakfast at Wimbledon in 1979, was ranked in the top five in the world, and pocketed millions playing a game he loved. Snapping aces and charging the net, Tanner became famous for a left-handed cannonball serve that blew opponents off the court with ease. His on-court behavior was faultless as well: throughout his tennis career, he was known as a Boy Scout in tennis whites, a straight arrow who thanked the ballboys and tournament volunteers. Following his retirement, however, Tanner’s life tumbled into a sinkhole of financial disasters and personal destruction—a series of double faults and missed opportunities that lasted for two decades. Among the problems were two divorces that emptied his bank accounts, fathering a daughter out of wedlock, and writing a bad check for the purchase of a 32-foot pleasure boat in Florida. While teaching tennis in Germany during the summer of 2003, Tanner was picked up by the local Polizei for extradition to the United States. Imprisonment took away everything—his freedom, his language, his family, his livelihood, and his self-confidence—and the former tennis star’s life came crashing down around his ears. For the first time in a charmed life, Tanner could not smooth talk his way out of trouble as his tennis whites were exchanged for prison blues. In Double Fault, Roscoe Tanner writes in blunt and illuminating fashion about the ups and downs of his life and career and reanimates one of the most colorful and memorable eras in the history of professional tennis. Tanner’s compelling stories and anecdotes shed light on a world only someone on the inside could describe. From June 18, 2003, to April 19, 2004, Tanner remained behind bars in Karlsruhe, Germany; Tampa Bay, Florida; and Somerset County, New Jersey. In this gripping account, Tanner describes how his life changed forever when he realized that he didn’t need money to pay his debts—he needed faith in God. Double Fault is a powerful story of a prodigal in tennis shorts that shows it’s never too late to turn things around.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Triumph Books (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572437790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572437791
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,907,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By R. Spell VINE VOICE on September 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a tennis fan, I enjoyed this book. Is it great literature or life altering? No. But if you want a quick summary of Roscoe's life and enjoyable times in the opening era of professional tennis, it's all here.

Raised in an upper middle class background in the South, Roscoe quickly summarizes his early life and influences and how he fell into tennis. Given the incredible amount of work required today to be a professional, it's almost laughable how a talented individual such as Roscoe could stumble into a professional career given that it wasn't the focus of his life as required to survive in today's tennis world.

One of the first interesting facts learned was Tanner's recruitment at Stanford. After signing with Tennessee, he eventually goes to Stanford and is considered by some as the most important recruit at the university as at that time UCLA and USC were clearly the best teams in the Pac-8 and the nation. Roscoe and subsequent teammates like Sandy Mayer changed all of that.

From a stellar college career Roscoe moves on to the pros with a wife in tow and the thrills of the road overcome his marriage. Ironically, he divorces his wife over a Colorado girlfriend who immediately clarifies that this was only a fling for her, poetic justice at its best. The book becomes somewhat of a whitewash of his extracurricular activity outside of marriage including in passing a call girl encounter that leads to a child. One can only think that this wasn't the first time that the book seems to imply. From there it's a quick downward spiral in to poor investments and dishonesty that end with him in jail and deeply in debt. His stories of jail bring home how this wealthy child/adult could have fallen so far.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craig on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was surprising to learn what Tanner had to say about himself. He isn't what I perceived him to be and not what he seemed like many years ago.

If you remember watching him in the 1970's you'll be interested in the book. Even if you weren't a fan of his it is still worth reading.

This is a book with experiences to learn from. Take a look at a man's trials and think about how they relate to yourself.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Surely a book that belongs in a tennis library. It is easy to read, tells the story of Tanner and tells fun facts for anyone interested in tennis in the late seventies early eighties. I have enjoyed reading. Three stars for a well written (Mike Yorkey) book.

My first acquaintance with Roscoe Tanner was as a 17-year-old for the TV. A giant with perm hair hit with incredible flexible storage holes in the sacred grass of Wimbledon 1979. That perm was too much to watch but what a power of a storage. Tanner was one of the first real service cannons. Clocked his fastest service, 153mph in Palm Springs 1978, was only improved in 2004, by Andy Roddick. Highlights of his career were the 1979 Wimbledon final against Borg, lost in five sets, and his major Australian Open in 1977, three sets win over Guillermo Vilas. In 1984 he gave up professional tennis. But Tanner came in 2003 in the news again when he was arrested in Germany because of issuing a bad check. This arrest begins his book.

The first chapters deal with the first time in German prison and how he lost all his dignity. The low point, going to the toilet with his cellmate in the same space, finally made him realize that he himself had to change. In subsequent chapters, he describes his life until then, from kid from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, who began playing tennis until his retirement from professional tennis in 1984. Tanner's story is interesting, honest, with nice anecdotes and funny stories about his contemporaries, like Connors and Ashe, his doubles partner for some years. The third part is the story of his time in prison in Germany, extradited to the U.S. and his time in prison there. During this time Tanner reads a lot in the Bible, pray much and let Christ into his life.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic and very touching story, and I venture if it's brought to the big screen... it will be a hit. The books is touching, entertaining, with an incredible pace (took me only 2 days to finish it). You really want this guy to find his way back to his life.

As soon as I finished the book, started looking for more information on the web, just to find out that Roscoe is still going thru a terrible legal situation as I'm writing these lines. He's still under pressure, is break-point... yet he is on serve...

Wish him the best and will keep him in my prayers.
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By Thomas Lopez on April 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The parts of the book describing his life on the tour and playing doubles with Arthur Ashe are quite fun to read. His tale of how he came to be in trouble with the law do not ring true. The man was completely self entitled, had no problem shirking every responsibility that ever came his way, had absolutely no moral compass and has the audacity to complain about his treatment when the law finally caught up with him. In the end, he was completely unrepentant. The guy is bad news.
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