on 7 May 2014
Wimbledon Men's Final 2008: Champion Roger Federer going for a record 6th title in a row, against his nemesis, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal. Rain caused a late start, and then interrupted the flow of the match later on: would it actually end before the fading light forced play to stop (this was the year before the roof on Centre Court was finished), or would the players have to return the next day to finish it off? In a 5-set thriller lasting a little under 5 hours, in what many people now think of as one of the greatest tennis matches ever, we had our answer.
Wertheim skilfully weaves into and around his description of the match a mini-biography of each player, discussion of the "Fedal" rivalry and the players' playing styles, a view behind the scenes at the world's most famous tennis tournament, a lot of background information and much more, to give a quite riveting read which should be of interest to any tennis fan, and even those who are just curious about the sport and what makes a champion. My only caveats are that it's written for an American audience, and some of the sporting/cultural references may go over British readers' heads, and that I have niggling doubts as to the accuracy of a few of the facts. I originally borrowed this book from the library, and liked it so much that I read it through *twice*: something which hardly ever happens.
on 26 February 2014
I am halfway through this book, but so far I love it. Rarely have I read a book by a sports writer with so much talent and flair with words. It is a pleasure to read. While being factually accurate, it is concise, imaginative, gripping and really tells a story. (Many sports books seem to be a hastily assembled list of facts and dates, not written in an imaginative style.) For me this stands out like a beacon. The two characters (Federer and Nadal) come alive almost like protagonists in a novel. Packed with anecdotes and penetrating insights into the world of tennis. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Just hope that the author sees fit to write another book about the game. Would love to contact him and tell him how much I admire and enjoy the book.
on 14 September 2011
I am an obsessive fan of Rafael Nadal so will read anything I can get my hands on. Read this alongside Rafa's own book. Got off to a bad start though as the author got a very checkable fact wrong in the first few pages - Rafa's birthday is not 6th June but 3rd June, that made me quite cross !!! I enjoyed the book but reading his own account of preparing for the Wimbledon final 2008 it differs from this one so it makes you wonder about other info. Would recommend to tennis fans.