The story of a multi-million dollar sport and the inner lives of those who tread the big-money wheel of the ATP Tour, Neil Harman's Duel for the Crown
is the Sunday Telegraph
journalist's account of the 1998 tennis season, focusing on the fluctuating fortunes of Britain's Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski.
As the ATP caravan circumnavigates the globe, Harman chronicles a remarkable tennis year, looking beyond the court and behind the PR veneer to reveal a game the public rarely sees.
Staged away from the arena and the camera, but informing everything which we see on court, this "inner" game defines the sport and the yawning distance between a top-20 ranking and obscurity.
Candid dispatches from deep inside the Henman and Rusedski camps are contrasted with the forthright views of the top players and most insightful commentators to offer a revealing portrait of modern tennis.
This level of acceptance within the tight-knit world of the top professional athletes is rare and hard-won. To Harman's credit, his obvious delight in the sport and privileged access to its major figures hasn't dulled his journalist's instinct for delivering the story.
Winning at this rarefied level is as much about capturing the hearts and minds of the watching public and the sponsors' wallet as it is about Grand Slam titles. The rewards are enormous, and Harman's is an engaging insight into what it means to compete. --Alex Hankin
From the Inside Flap
British tennis had never seen anything like. Not since 1977, when Virginia Wade won the Centenary ladies' single title at Wimbledon had tennis people occupied the best seats at sport's premier awards night, supplanting the Olympians, the Formula One drivers, footballers, boxers and test cricketers. Twenty years on in 1997, Greg Rusedki was crowned as BBC's Sports Personality of the Year and Tim Henman came second. At the beginning of 1998, Britain luxuriated in two tennis heroes.Duel for the Crown
is the fascinating story of a year in the life of Britain's two top tennis players. In his wholly gripping book, Neil Harman, tennis correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph
, follows the highs and lows of Henman and Rusedski's tennis year as they vie for the crown of being Britain's number one and battle for world ranking points.
Uniqely Henman and Rusedski's careers are almost intertwined, Born on the same day, but a year apart, the two men could not be more different. And the world of tennis is one of the most intense in sport. It is a world where as a player you put yourself on the line the minute you walk out on the court. There's nothing to protect you to save the graphite gadget in your hand. Step into that rectangle, peer over the net and do it on your own. In such an environment Henman and Rusedski can only be the most intense of rivals. Are they jealous of each other's talent or determined to be the most successful? Is their rivalry a help to one another's success or a hindrance? Drawing on conversations with players, coaches and commentators, Neil Harman examines the true nature of the relationship between Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski. From humble beginnings continents apart to the thrill and excitement of the 1998 tour, Harman looks at what really motivates and drives Henman and Rusedski to succeed.
Not only a thrilling journey through a controversial year in British tennis,Duel for the Crown
is also a highly personal view from the press box of the gruelling world of tennis and a penetrating insight into the state of the modern game.