on 8 January 2009
If you're a tennis fan with an interest in the history of the sport, this is quite simply a must-have. Bud Collins is legendary within tennis journalism and this book lives up to his reputation. It guides you, year by year through tennis history, not by cold facts but by an entertaining yet accurate narrative. The stats lovers like myself are well catered for by the latter part of the book, which is stuffed full of facts and figures. There is also an extensive section of biographies of the tennis greats and the ones who weren't quite great but were also notable. The only drawback of this book (and the reason I don't give it maximum rating) is that it is clearly aimed at the US market. There are biographies of run of the mill American players when top ten players from other nations don't get a mention, and the year-by-year narrative focuses on American players and tournaments. This bias stops this work being the definitive work it could have been. It's still an awesome read for any tennis fan.
on 1 December 2011
Bud Collins may be an alien name to those Britons who grew up listening to Dan Maskell and John Barratt at Wimbledon, but in America he's the voice of tennis, both a journalist and a commentator on the sport he loves so much. This massive tome is a testament to both that love of the game and the history he has preserved within it.
What do you get with this book? For starters, a compilation of the results of all the finals from the four major tennis tournaments - the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open - with progress from the quarterfinals onwards also listed for good measure. You also get a reasonable overview of each tennis year from the 1920's onwards - complete with Collins's own enjoyable overview - profiles of star players past and present - Federer et al. - results from tournaments just below the majors and Davis, Fed and Wightman Cup results. In short, it's pretty much a tennis fan's bible.
There are just a few flaws with it. The first edition contains some slight typographical faults, while the accounts of each tennis year are not wholly comprehensive - this reviewer would have liked to have read about all the events in the year, not just the majors. However, with this tome weighing in at some 700 pages, this would probably have been a step too far.
Prior to the release of this book, the only good reference books that could be found regarding tennis were the legendary World of Tennis annuals and their predecessors (Dunlop etc.). With this release a large gap in the market has been filled, and this reviewer was particularly glad that it was. An enjoyable, fascinating and informative read for both the novice and expert tennis historian alike.