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Topspin : Ups and Downs in Big-Time Tennis Hardcover – May, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Berry (Tough Draw), a child star of the sport during the 1970s, shows himself a subtle observer of tennis and its participants as he analyzes key games and looks into the personalities of the players. He concentrates on two athletes, Ania Bleszynski, the daughter of Polish immigrant parents, both physicists, and herself a brilliant student as well as a fine performer on the court; and Jonathan Stark, whose world ranking yo-yos from 1007th to 36th then to 73rd as his drive to win waxes and wanes. Berry interviews ex-stars like Fred Perry, 85, who tells what it was like to play Bill Tilden (Perry has since died), and Rod Laver, who talks of the time the Australians ruled the tennis world. Citing the case of Jennifer Capriati, a millionaire at 13 from her earnings and a has-been at 18, he blasts parents who take their children out of school, leaving them uneducated. This perceptive study verifies an observation made by Stark's ex-coach Larry Stefanski: "Tennis hurts."
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As demonstrated in his work Tough Draw (LJ 8/92), Berry is less interested in exposing the flaws of the professional tennis circuit (which are well documented by Peter Bodo in The Courts of Babylon, LJ 7/95, and others) than in defining the factors that ensure a player's success on the court. His intent is to look beyond individual skills and strategies to the qualities of balance, passion, and state of mind that ultimately determine the winners and losers. In doing so, he posits a relationship between the exteriors of a person's game and his or her interior. Interviews with Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall on the current crop of stars round out the text. On the whole, this is a worthy successor to the author's earlier work and recommended for most sports collections.?William H. Hoffman, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., Fla.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co; 1st edition (May 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805035435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805035438
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,232,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Chasbo on January 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a well written collection of insightful pieces about players at different levels on the professional tour. Berry has a rare combination of being a skilled competitive player himself and an accomplished writer and scholar. He understands and conveys the lonely pressures of competition, the finesse and skill of his subjects and the factors that drive them.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Despite claims that the book gives great insights into the top players, you'll find that it mainly focusses on Ania Bleszynski and Jonathan Stark. There is some thoughts on Stefan Edberg as well.

I find Elliott Berry waxes poetic on too many occassions. He seems more intent on telling us how he knows a lot about tennis, and gives players insights that even they didn't realize.

If you're into more of a wishy-washy view of the tennis scene, this may be fine. If you prefer a harder hitting account, look into buying Courts of Babylon by Peter Bodo, or a similar book.
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