The golden age of tennis came crashing down suddenly at the 1981 U.S. Open. Bjorn Borg, the stoical Swede who had become the richest and most famous player in the sport's history, had just lost to his brash young rival, John McEnroe, in the final at Flushing Meadows. After his last shot floated out, Borg walked to the net, shook McEnroe's hand in silence, and disappeared from the game he had dominated for the last decade.
No one realized it at the time, but the era that Borg and the three other semifinalists at that year's Open—McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Vitas Gerulaitis—had helped define had also ended. For nearly a century, the lawns of tennis had been reserved for wealthy amateurs—gentlemen, in the original British parlance—but in 1968, the game was opened to professionals and was forever changed. The 1970s were boom years for tennis. Thanks to charismatic young players and dramatic matches, participation skyrocketed in the United States and brought the game to a new peak of global popularity. In the ensuing decade, the sport would be taken further from its genteel roots than anyone thought possible.
Through the lens of that era's final tournament, the 1981 U.S. Open, High Strung chronicles the lives and careers of the men who made those Wild West days of tennis so memorable. The Swede known as "Ice Borg," who secretly harbored an inner madman. McEnroe, the tortured, bratty genius who was destined to slay his idol. Connors, the blue-collar kid who tore the cover off the ball—and the game itself—becoming a beloved antihero. Ilie Nastase, the Romanian clown who tested the outer limits of acceptable behavior and taste. Gerulaitis, the New York charmer and Studio 54 regular who was friend to them all. And Ivan Lendl, the robotic Czech who became a harbinger of tennis's high-powered future.
The struggles these men shared were as compelling off the court as they were on. Some thrived, some survived, some were destroyed, but none has ever been forgotten.
This book is a good read for any tennis fan.
As an avid tennis fan, I am always looking for good books about some of the tennis greats, and Steve Tignor's "High Strung" definitely filled the bill.
He also does a great job of weaving into the narrative the evolution of the traditions we find in the game today.
This book would maybe be given a 4 or 5 star rating if it showed photos of Borg, McEnroe, Lendel , Connors, Nastasie, Gerulitas et all on the cover and was re titled! Read morePublished 26 days ago by Richardson
It was interesting but mostly things I have heard before but I am a tennis fanatic .The title is good.Published 6 months ago by Susan F. Leslie
A great book for any fan of tennis's Golden Age. Loved learning about all the eccentric characters of the era.Published 7 months ago by riskchamp1
Was just a little too young understand this great era in tennis history as it was happening... Now I have a much more complete understanding of why Borg walked away. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Eric Miller
I really enjoyed this book. I remember when tennis, with Connors, Borg, and McEnroe
was must watch television, prior to the television business being take over
by the... Read more
I can't say this is the best tennis book I ever read, but I don't regret purchasing it. It met my criteria for readability. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Gma Sara
The memories came flooding back as I read about players and matches that I remember vividly. It was a great era for the sport. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Cindy
I became interested and active in tennis during this time period, and this story unfolded on my television back in the day. Very well researched and written.Published 16 months ago by Vince Lewis