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Hardcourt Confidential: Tales from Twenty Years in the Pro Tennis Trenches Hardcover – June 8, 2010

3.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Patrick McEnroe was never the tennis stud his brother, John, was, but he has made a nice career out of the game. As a player, he was a Grand Slam doubles champ, advanced to the singles semis in another Grand Slam, and is currently the U.S. Davis cup captain. He's also ESPN's lead tennis analyst. But can he write? Yes, he can. His inspiration sprang from his storytelling ability over dinner and drinks; people kept urging him to gather his tennis stories and put them in a book. The result is a mischievously entertaining and wholly informative, anecdote-heavy look at the relatively insular world of professional tennis. The PG-rated anecdotes are never malicious and usually chuckle-worthy; the analysis of the game and its global growth owes its acuity to McEnroe's unique vantage point as a former athlete, current administrator, and professional observer. Serious tennis fans will find information and perspective here that will add depth to their knowledge of the sport; casual observers will delight in McEnroe's wry wit and sense of the absurd. --Wes Lukowsky

About the Author

Patrick McEnroe is a former world no. 28 singles and no. 3 doubles player, and a former Grand Slam doubles champion and singles semifinalist. He is presently the United States Davis Cup captain (ninth year the longest of any captain in US history), a tennis commentator for ESPN, and head of the United States Tennis Association's player development program. He's married to the actress/singer/songwriter Melissa Errico, with whom he has three daughters; the family lives in New York city.

Peter Bodo has been a senior writer/editor at Tennis magazine for almost 30 years, and he's written numerous books, including four on tennis (in addition to a previous collaboration with Patrick McEnroe, he collaborated with Pete Sampras on the recent New York Times bestseller, A Champion's Mind). He also writes the popular Peter Bodo's TennisWorld weblog, and was a long-time contributor to the New York Times as an Outdoors columnist. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and six-year old son, Luke, in New York City and the upstate town of Andes.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401323812
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401323813
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Green on June 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so underwhelmed by this book, that for the first time since using Amazon.com, I felt obligated to write a review to warn other potential readers that this book is a total waste of time. I was really looking forward to reading this book because Patrick McEnroe seemed like a decent tennis commentator and the title, "Hardcourt Confidential" lead me to believe that the book would contain a behind the scenes look at the pro tour. No such luck. The author reveals little or nothing that even a casual fan doesn't already know. His great insights into the game are that Federer and Nadal are "special" players. Really??? That's your big reveal about the modern pro tour! Worse yet, the stories are just boring, and poorly written. Maybe the author is hamstrung to be any more revealing because he has Davis Cup responsibilities or a commitment to the USTA, but if that's the case, just don't write a book, or don't write a jacket cover for your book promising interesting tales from the tennis tour. I feel burned.
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Format: Hardcover
Seeing as Patrick McEnroe is an astute commentator, I was looking forward to some insider insight into pro tennis. Boy, was I disappointed. MacEnroe spends the book outlining the tour schedule and basic rules of the game, intermittently rehashing tennis headlines from the past 30 years. Does he not understand that anyone reading a book by Patrick McEnroe probably already has a good handle on the fact that a Davis Cup match is called a Tie, or that players used to skip the Aussie Open? This is a serious case of a writer having no idea what audience he should be writing to. People are reading this for inside dirt, and there's just nothing there. The most interesting anecdotes were already covered by Andre Agassi in his far superior Open. To compound the problems, the book is poorly written and littered with errors. Unless 34-40 actually is a possible score in a tennis game, or sometime this year while I wasn't looking New York and Melbourne became international capitals, or Bjorn Borg was in fact 25 in 1987. What a waste of time - I'm thankful I got this at the library, but it's not even worth a borrow.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes genetics just aren't fair.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gotta tell you, I am really surprised by all the negative reviews. I have been a huge tennis fan since 1975, have followed the game very closely, and I loved this book! My perspective goes back as far as the early '70's Laver paeons, the numerous ghost-written autobios (Court and Goolagong come to mind), the outstanding Arthur Ashe autobiographical works, the so-so Serena autobio, and the two recent tomes I greatly enjoyed, by Connors and Agassi.

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.
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