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The Player: The Autobiography Paperback – July 26, 2005

3.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Becker uncovers it all and doesn’t pull any punches.” -- Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Boris Becker was born in Leimen, West Germany, in 1967, and burst onto the international tennis scene in 1985 when, as an unknown 17-year-old, he rewrote the record books by beating Kevin Curren and winning the men’s final at Wimbledon. On the back of his enormously powerful serve, he took the world of tennis by storm and by 1991 he was the world’s number one player. His extraordinary career includes three Wimbledon men’s singles titles (he reached the final seven times in ten years) among a total of 49 singles and 15 doubles crowns, and he became the second youngest player (after Bjorn Borg) to be inducted into tennis’s Hall of Fame. Retiring from the pro-tennis scene in 1999, Becker refused to fade away — his name simply moved from the back pages of newspapers to the front.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Publishers (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553817167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553817164
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,989,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is an excellent autobiography about one of my favorite tennis stars of the Open era. His book compares favorably to Mac's "You Can't Be Serious." Although both personalities are equally intriguing, Becker opens up more. Mac remains more focused on the tennis. Becker engages in depth into all his demons, the tax evasion scandal, the wrenching divorce, and the sleeping pill addiction.

With Becker you feel the heights and lows of fame. It is an extremely charged bipolar life. You also feel that Becker found it physically and emotionally exhausting. His body was crippled with tendon injuries resulting in several surgeries. His lingering tax evasion case lasting years took a heavy toll on his tennis career. His marriage to Barbara was a casualty of fame.

Many relationships he experienced have gone through Faustian dramas. This is true with his coaches and his women. He always seems to share a very strong bond and trust at the onset. Invariably, they don't meet expectations (his or theirs). Then, things fall apart. But, somehow they often recover and end up as mature friends. This was the case with both Ion Tiriac and Barbara (his former wife).

Becker is full of contradictions. For instance, when he is in court to fight over the terms of a bitter divorce he states that he lived all his life in Germany. This was in an effort to transfer the divorce case from the U.S. where his wife filed the divorce paper to Germany where he would benefit from more lenient financial disclosure. But, when the German government goes after him for back taxes. All of a sudden, he has supposedly not set foot in Germany for decades. What gives?

The description of life on the tour and the limelight seems really existential at best.
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Format: Paperback
I would imagine that most of the autobiographies of sports personalities (and perhaps movie stars) in todays day and age are ghost-written. This book doesn't seem to be an exception.

Being a great fan of Becker, I picked up the book as soon as I saw it in a bookshop. However, I was reasonably disappointed. The book talks very little about his tennis (which is what a fan would like to read about). I wanted to read about his epic matches, and his wimbledon wins.

Instead of writing about tennis in this book, Becker writes more about the off-the-court aspects of his life (his misunderstandings with his coaches, with other players on the circuit). He seems to be making a point that he was never in the wrong but that he was misunderstood. The book seems to be his attempt to set the record straight.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was excited to read this since I watched Boris play back in the late 80's. I lost interest in the book quickly due to his writing and life style. Reading about Andre Agassi was MUCH more interesting and a quick read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting life. I am not a tennis fan. I like to read autobiographies/biographies of people I know nothing about. The biography I read before this one was of Clementine Churchill. There is a trend with movie star biographies. Their lives are interesting up until they become famous. Then all they do is work.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would've preferred to give three and a half stars but nvm, well worth a read if you're a fan, I always wanted to hear his own point of view.

It doesn't appear to be too ghost written and though the tennis is featured, it's not just about tennis, and that's inevitable. We all know Becker's physical tennis style - it was often the things happening off the court that threatened his place in the game and could well have distracted him. It's obvious that Boris has had many highs and lows, very early fame and success that he struggled to deal with, as he was suddenly thrust into the public eye. He overcame that to sustain a long and illustrious tennis career at a time the game was undergoing some key transitions which he describes well - the context of someone who witnessed and was at the middle of the change of a tennis era.

If there is anyone who bridged those two eras, it was Becker. Despite his serve dominant game, he was always entertaining to watch. And he makes a good point - at a time when most sports are being dogged and threatened by drug scandals and cheating, tennis remains a relatively untainted, predominantly skill based game, equal parts mental, emotional and physical. The main cloud over it at present is the increased commercialism and exploitation of the sport. Fair enough - professional top players deserve remuneration but at what point does it become more about the money than the game?

Boris is a contradiction - swinging between tightly controlled discipline, and extreme passion/drama; self assuredness and then self doubt/loathing. It is those shades that made him an interesting player and individual. His feelings towards his homeland veer from pride, affection and sentiment; to some disappointment, frustration and bitterness.
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Format: Paperback
It's much more about his personal life and business pursuits than tennis. The extent to which he has burned out on the game really comes through in the lack of interest he seems to have in writing about it. Few matches get any more than a sentence or two. Pretty disappointing.
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