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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book About A Great Match
It's amazing that years can go by without a great tennis book, and now in 2009 - only a month after "A Terrible Splendor" - we've got another one.
Wertheim is one of the best tennis writers around, and one of the fairest, and he brings the 2008 Wimbledon final to life with a highly readable portrait of both Federer and Nadal, and how their games combined to create a...
Published on May 13, 2009 by J. R. Taylor

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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity
The initial idea for Wertheim's book was to write about Federer but the concept changed after witnessing that historic Wimbledon final.

Instead, the author tells the tale of a fantastic match between two champions during which time briefly stopped for every tennis fan lucky enough to see it. Not only does he go through the match, set by set, but he also paints...
Published on May 13, 2009 by H J


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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book About A Great Match, May 13, 2009
By 
J. R. Taylor (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played (Hardcover)
It's amazing that years can go by without a great tennis book, and now in 2009 - only a month after "A Terrible Splendor" - we've got another one.
Wertheim is one of the best tennis writers around, and one of the fairest, and he brings the 2008 Wimbledon final to life with a highly readable portrait of both Federer and Nadal, and how their games combined to create a clash for the ages.
An interesting and informed analysis of the tennis itself is complemented by the author's take on the two players that lets the reader understand why each has such passionate fans, and on the tennis scene, whose absurdities inspire a number of humorous asides.
If the book has one relative weakness, it's that it doesn't have a broader context in the way that "A Terrible Splendor" does. But in terms of getting to the heart of why tennis (and sports in general) can be so enthralling, the book definitely scores. Since finishing it, I'm eager to re-watch the DVD of the final with Wertheim's writing in mind.
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48 of 58 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity, May 13, 2009
By 
This review is from: Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played (Hardcover)
The initial idea for Wertheim's book was to write about Federer but the concept changed after witnessing that historic Wimbledon final.

Instead, the author tells the tale of a fantastic match between two champions during which time briefly stopped for every tennis fan lucky enough to see it. Not only does he go through the match, set by set, but he also paints the background of not only Federer and Nadal (which didn't have any information that isn't already available on the internet) but it also has an interesting insight into the career of the umpire Pascal Maria.

The author does not seem to have been able to get close to both players or to their environment to get a real insight, you don't get direct reactions from them or their coaches, no interviews. You read the tale based on old press articles and interviews. Other than a few nice but brief glimpses in the locker rooms, there's nothing extra. Only information that a keen tennis fan already knew from the daily press.

Furthermore, you get the feeling that, in his mind, the author never really stepped away from his idea to write about Federer. Describing the players, he gets stuck in stereotypes and tired old clichés of both. Some of those have an element of truth but other descriptions are off base and dated. You expect more from an experienced tennis journalist.

It's a missed opportunity. My advice would be to get a copy of this match on DVD to (re)live the experience with your own eyes.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars no unique insights, but still an entertaining read, June 10, 2009
By 
Marcela M. (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played (Hardcover)
As a faithful reader of Wertheim's tennis mailbag on CNNSI for 10 years, I looked forward to reading this book. Sadly, I was a little disappointed. Wertheim's Fedophilia came across in every page and Nadal just seemed like an afterthought. Fed is graceful, brilliant, gifted, Nadal on the other hand is infantile, grips his racket like a caveman, and is a simple brute. Wertheim plays on the Swiss stereotypes v. the Spanish stereotypes too often: Calm, meticulous, organized, a multi-lingual diplomat, versus emotional, passionate, monolingual macho. Which is inaccurate as Nadal speaks Spanish, Catalan, the native language of Manacor, and English.

What I enjoyed the most were the sections on how the sport has evolved, the background info on Wimbledon, the umpire's bio, and the side stories of the fans. However, I feel this book suffered from lack of any unique insight into the players themselves.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatness of Tennis, August 29, 2009
This review is from: Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played (Hardcover)
Tennis is great. At the time of this writing, it is Middle Sunday, the traditional Sunday without action during Wimbledon. The non-appearance of Nadal at this tournament due to injury, combined with Federer's historic win at the French Open and the reading of a book (more on this in a few) has made me reflect on the significance of last year's Wimbledon Mens Final. In the last several years Roger Federer has become my favorite player to watch, due to his grace, fluidity and ease of play. Some of the other players I enjoyed watching before him include Andre Agassi, Stefan Edberg, and Mats Wilander. All these players had rivals, and that made them raise their games to the next level. For Andre Agassi, of course it was the greatness of Pete Sampras, for Edberg it was Becker and in the case of Wilander one of his main rivals was Ivan Lendl. Still many people talk about the rivalry between McEnroe and Borg as the greatest, which I was too young at the time to fully experience and enjoy. What led me to think about this on a Middle Sunday during Wimbledon 2009? The answer to that question is L. Jon Wertheim's book, Strokes of Genius. This book is about Federer, Nadal, the rivalry, Pascal Maria (the match umpire), the game of tennis and most importantly about the greatest game played, Wimbledon 2008 Mens Final. The author does a great job of weaving the story of the game together, from the pre-match ongoings, the sights and sounds of Wimbledon and the historical background of the game of tennis. The author delicately crafts historical information about the game of tennis at the right junctures as the match is being described, like flashbacks in a movie. This book has been an easy, fast, and an enjoyable read. It makes me want to pick up a racket again and play tennis. It is a book that celebrates the greatness of tennis. This book is a must read for all, and including those up and coming young tennis players. Thanks to Mr. Wertheim for capturing this great moment in tennis history and hopefully further jolting the popularity of tennis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, June 10, 2009
This review is from: Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played (Hardcover)
Wertheim has captured the brilliance and excitement of the match. Wertheim demonstrates eloquently that the 2008 Wimbledon Final between NADAL and Federer truly was the greatest match ever. Thank you John for capturing two great champions in their prime and covering the world class match that they played
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book about a fantastic match, May 6, 2009
This review is from: Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played (Hardcover)
As a huge tennis fan I sat in awe as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played the greatest tennis match ever a year ago. It was one of those matches where as soon as it ended, I immediately wanted to watch it again.
Jon Wertheim has written a fantastic book about Nadal and Federer's epic Wimbledon match, filled with great behind the scenes anecdotes and terrific analysis. It's also a great look at two very different players, whose paths in life led them to this great rivalry.
Any tennis fan would be fascinated by this book, especially with the French Open and Wimbledon coming up. The Nadal-Federer rivalry deserves a great book, and now it has one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and interesting book for tennis fans., September 4, 2010
I am a fan of Rafa's and that historic match was wonderful for his fans and this book is too, it's written in an engaging way and is totally absorbing, I couldn't put it down (unlike some books such as the Biography about Rafa which doesn't tell diehard fans anything new)

I love to read as much as possible about Rafa, I'm a huge fan of his and always want to know more about him - this book doesn't disappoint, I recommend it thoroughly.

Another great read is this poetry book which has over 80 poems in about Rafa as well as other poems about love. It's really brilliant and fans of Rafa will really love it.

The Poetry of Passion (for People with a Pulse)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So near yet so far., June 10, 2009
This review is from: Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played (Hardcover)
"Strokes of Genius" falls short of a genius work. Instead it serves as a complete (almost too much completeness here) account of the Federer-Nadal Wimbledon finals from 2008. Not to call the book a failure since it provides a ton of trivia about the game, the players and everything Wimbledon.
For a Federer fan, there is much to know here and will probably serve as the Federer bible until his autobiography eventually hits the bookshelves.
Wertheim does a commendable job with the topic at hand but it eventually ends up being too wordy and almost a little less than the actual game. For those die-hard tennis fans, this is definitely worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read but also a little disappointing, October 30, 2009
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This review is from: Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played (Hardcover)
Overall, this is a good read and I did enjoy the book. However, I was also a little disappointed with the greater focus on Federer. I expected a fairer balance about both players but clearly the author had already done a lot of research on Federer - as he initially planned ot write a book on RF - and included much of this in Strokes. Given who won this epic match, it's a bit too bias for me. Nevertheless, it is well written and fans of Federer will enjoy it. I would still recommend the book for some rare insights like with the umpires for example.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible account of one of the greatest rivalries in sports, September 26, 2011
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This review is from: Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played (Hardcover)
This is an excellent account of arguably the greatest tennis match ever played. I love how the author mingled the personal lives of Rafa and Roger throughout the book. It makes you realize how dissimilar yet how similar these two are.
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Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played
Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played by L. Jon Wertheim (Hardcover - June 4, 2009)
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