Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Hardcourt Confidential: Tales from Twenty Years in the Pro Tennis Trenches Hardcover – June 8, 2010
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Sports history is a bit littered with stories about siblings who both enter a particular game, but the gene pool has been kinder to one than the other. Wayne Gretzky might be the greatest hockey player in history, while younger brother Keith never made it out of the minors. Hank Aaron set the major league record for home runs, while Tommie Aaron had trouble playing regularly. While both brothers rank in the top few percent of the population as a whole in a sport, it's a long way in terms of fame from the top to a few rungs down the ladder.
Patrick McEnroe knows all about that. He was a very, very good tennis player in his prime, making the pro tour and reaching a ranking of the top 30 in the world. But brother John was the one everyone remembers, for his play and for his antics.
Patrick, to his credit, has carved out a career in tennis. He's written about the first 20 years of that life in his book, "Hardcourt Confidential."
This McEnroe certainly has worn many hats over the years. He achieved more fame while playing as a doubles player, winning some tournaments and coming close enough to get a little television time in others. Still, if you are 28th in the world, you are pretty good.
From there, McEnroe smoothly moved into the world of television, where he has been a commentator for a variety of networks for several years. He's been a key contributor to the United States Tennis Association, and a captain of Davis Cup teams. McEnroe writes here that sometimes juggling all the jobs has caused him a few minor difficulties, but that it comes with the territory.
Patrick has the reputation for being the "good McEnroe" as compared to John's "bad cop" role. Still, Patrick displays an edge here that is a little surprising. He's also quite honest here, which scores him points.
The book uses the tennis calendar as something of a launching point for a discussion of a variety of subjects related to the game. The first chapter is centered on the Australian Open, more or less, and then the story meandered through the rest of the year. The structure is basically a clothesline for McEnroe to tell stories and give opinions, and it works fine.
As for the content, it's something of a hit or miss proposition. There are insights into the workings of the tour, opinions and anecdotes about great players past and present, and comments on the tennis industry and its broadcasting partners. Obviously, there are portions on life with the Other McEnroe, which are interesting as well. This is obviously is a pretty smart person doing the writing.
Plus, there are the usual funny stories about life on the road, including the time the entire U.S. Davis Cup tennis team anonymously walked into a Waffle House and befriended a waitress. They sent her a couple of tickets to the next day's match, and she seemed to enjoy sitting right in the midst of the top officials of tennis.
On the other hand, though, tennis politics isn't that interesting. McEnroe wasn't quite good enough to play in big matches against the greatest of the game, so there aren't any first-person accounts along those lines. While McEnroe is justifiably proud of his work on the Davis Cup, it's easy to wonder how many average fans will share his enthusiasm.
That makes "Hardcourt Confidential" come off as the proverbial mixed bag, with some very good section and others that beg to be skimmed. It's hard to picture a very casual tennis fan being drawn in, but more avid followers of the sport should fine some rewards here.
Patrick McEnroe has an excellent perspective on the game, as someone who wasn't at the very pinnacle, and thus does not have the skewed perspective you get from inhabiting such "rarefied air." Some reviewers complained that he didn't write enough about his brother John....to which I would reply, "You Cannot be Serious??" Not only has story upon story been devoted to every dimension of John McEnroe, but McEnroe himself has a pretty good autobiography entitled.....well, if you don't know, then....
The Davis Cup anecdotes were great. Seeing as that was a huge focus of both Patrick and John, it isn't surprising to see that emphasis. Ai also greatly appreciated the insight into various player personalities.
My greatest endorsement might be that in the last four years, this is the FIRST book I have seen fit to order (hardcover) online, as I have such a high opinion of it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mr Mc Enroe was honest about his modest status as a pro player.Read more