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Hard Courts Hardcover – August 13, 1991

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 457 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st edition (August 13, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394583337
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394583334
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA-- Over a period of 15 months, Feinstein interviewed close to 200 individuals--players, coaches, managers, trainers, tournament officials, agents, and fans. The world that he describes is not always a pretty one. Scandal, corruption, feigning injury, and other problems are as much a part of this game as they are of any other multimillion-dollar sport. But the pagentry, tradition, and greatness of so many individuals is also a mainstay of the book. Young adults will get to know their favorite players not only as participants but as real people. --Dino Vretos, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Of all the ``isms,'' implies this gossipy and savvy rundown on big-time tennis, commercialism may be the most subtly ruinous. Hitherto known as one of college basketball's better Boswells, Feinstein (A Season on the Brink, A Season Inside, Forever's Team) spent 1990 with the young professionals who make often-handsome livings on courts of quite another kind. By his account, few of the men and women on the global circuit (let alone their agents or tournament officials) can be described as sportive. With millions of dollars in prize money and endorsements for corporate sponsors at stake, touring pros and their supporting casts play the game for keeps. The long grind of the season starts in January with the Australian Open, the first of the so-called Grand Slam tournaments on which the author focuses, and ends in December with the Davis Cup final. In between, there are nearly 80 more sanctioned events for men and over 60 for women, plus countless opportunities to participate in lucrative exhibitions. As it happened, 1990 produced eight different Grand Slam champions and some very fine tennis. In covering the major contests, though, Feinstein leaves little doubt that the administrative policies of the game are as anarchic and self-seeking as those of boxing, a situation that helps explain the willful, mercenary bent of many star attractions. The author does not confine himself to muckraking, however. Indeed, he has kind (if blunt) words for such top seeds as Boris Becker, Chris Evert, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, and a host of lesser lights who have some appreciation of the cosmopolitan sport's traditions. Feinstein is obviously disturbed, though, by the increasing incidence of ``tanking'' (deliberately losing a match), TV dominance, conflicts of interest, and parental ultimatums. He's also bemused by the game's expedient approach to finance. For example, Zina Garrison (a talented black woman) couldn't buy an endorsement until she made the 1990 Wimbledon final, at which point her agent negotiated a $500,000, five-year deal with Reebok. An unsparing but engrossing audit of a sport that has yet to reckon the price of winning at any cost. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on September 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Though it now reads like a history of early '90's tennis, when this book first came out I pored over it with excitement to find out what the lives of my favorite players were like. All the big names of fifteen years ago are here: Sampras, Navratalova, Selles, Graf, Courier, Agassi, Fernandez, Vicario, McEnroe, Edberg and Lendl. Great champions all. This is set over the course of one full year on the circuit, from the Australian Open in January, to the end of season tournaments that follow the conclusion of the Grand Slam series at the US Open. Anyone who wants to learn about what it takes to compete at this level of tennis can get an education here. Also someone interested in the inner workings of the tour and the agencies that govern it can find out what they want to know. And although it seems odd to say this about one of the most influential books I read when I was so into this sport, it also serves today as the record of a long-ago year in the game of tennis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. H. on September 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This, along with Season on the Brink, are the only two John Feinstein books I've read. The impression that I've gotten from most people is that he tends to spread himself thin these days as he continues to churn out book after book - it's almost as if he's a factory, satisfying consumer demand without a particular regard for quality. I can't speak for that, but I DO know that this book, which is the result of Feinstein following both tennis tours in 1990, is worth a read. It's not entirely flawless, but the good outshines the bad.

One other common complaint that I've seen levied against Feinstein, both in regards to this book and elsewhere, is that his books tend to be very lengthy and could benefit from some judicious editing - indeed, Hard Courts is 450+ pages. In the case of this book, however, I feel as though such a length is warranted. I happen to be a huge tennis fan, and as everyone who happens to follow the tour on a weekly basis knows, the tennis season is very, very long. Indeed, it is so long that there is no real offseason. The tour starts in January (and in some cases, there are a handful of tourneys that begin at the end of December) and ends in the middle of November. In the last couple of years, the women have finished up the WTA tour a bit earlier, but the main tours still essentially last about 10/10.5 months on average (to speak nothing of smaller, Challenger events, which are essentially the "minor leagues" of tennis). Of course, most people don't play every single week, but there is a good chance that there is a tennis tournament going on somewhere in the world at any given time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This a a typical work of Feinstein; it is interesting and informative about much of the behind-the-scenes activity in professional tennis.
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By A Customer on August 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have copies of two books by John Feinstein...Hard Courts and A Season Inside. Both are fantastic. A fascinating look at a year (1990) on the professional tennis circuit. A must read for any follower of the game.
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More About the Author

John Feinstein spent years on the staff at the Washington Post, as well as writing for Sports Illustrated and the National Sports Daily. He is a commentator on NPRs "Morning Edition," a regular on ESPNs "The Sports Reporters" and a visiting professor of journalism at Duke University.His first book, A Season on the Brink, is the bestselling sports book of all time. His first book for younger readers, Last Shot, was a bestseller.

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