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Double Fault: My Rise and Fall, and My Road Back Hardcover – September 1, 2005
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"Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)" by David Sedaris
In one of the most anticipated books of 2017, David Sedaris tells a story that is, literally, a lifetime in the making. Pre-order today
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From the Publisher
"Roscoe Tanner vividly shares how easy it is to lose ones way in the world of professional sports. I commend him for being so candid with a story that reminds us that no matter where weve been or what weve done, its 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, Tanners life tumbled into a sinkhole of financial disasters and personal destructiona 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 everythinghis freedom, his language, his family, his livelihood, and his self-confidenceand the former tennis stars 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. Tanners 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 didnt need money to pay his debtshe needed faith in God. Double Fault is a powerful story of a prodigal in tennis shorts that shows its never too late to turn things around.
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Top Customer Reviews
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. In the end, he arranges his affairs and is released from jail. He gets a job as tennis-coach and he's sure that he's going to do things God's way.
The book gives a good picture of this American who, born with golden spoon, anything and everything was handed forfeited .. At the end of the book you really hope that he has things straight and makes sure he stays out of trouble.
(Unfortunately this is not so: In an article in the New York Times of February 12, 2012 by Dave Siminara it is clear that he double faulted again. Within a few months after the book was Tanner was arrested again. He stayed more than one year in prison in Lake Butler. Tanner wrote in 2008 a bad check for two cars. In April 2010, Tanner and his family were expelled of their rented house. January 17, 2012 this year he is again arrested.)
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. With a quick credit to religion, Tanner presents a happy ending that one can only roll your eyes at. I wish him the best but it's easier to present your side in a book than actually live it. I did however, recently hit with a pro in Orange County that talked of Roscoe and had nothing but good things to say about his current commitment. I hope that ends up being the case.
The most interesting part of the book to this tennis fan was Tanner's description of life on the tour with the other pros. While close to his age, I wasn't aware that Tanner was doubles partner with Arthur Ashe. This brings up many interesting stories and Tanner actually does a better job describing Ashe's personality than he does his own.
In closing I would say I really enjoyed this book. Mainly because the subject is of extreme interest. Did the book go into enough depth on Roscoe? Absolutely not and that would be my main disappointment. But it is an enjoyable read of a tennis legend and for me that was enough.
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.
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.