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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fire it up one time...BAM!"
There are many cases in which professional athletes have come back from devastating injuries and personal problems to regain their place in the spotlight. However, there are only a few of these stories that are as inspiring as the case of James Blake. A series of events in 2004 changed the life of this tennis player forever. He broke his neck in a practice session, lost...
Published on 26 Sep 2007 by Sebastian Fernandez

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was really looking forward to reading this book as I love to watch James Blake play tennis, win or lose. I was extremely disappointed therefore to find it to be very repetitive and to come across as a 'me me me book'. I got really tired of reading about how wonderful his dad was, how wonderful his friends are, how hard Blake works. I'm sure this is down to the writing...
Published on 21 July 2009 by Spelling pedant


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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Fire it up one time...BAM!", 26 Sep 2007
By 
Sebastian Fernandez (Tampa, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
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There are many cases in which professional athletes have come back from devastating injuries and personal problems to regain their place in the spotlight. However, there are only a few of these stories that are as inspiring as the case of James Blake. A series of events in 2004 changed the life of this tennis player forever. He broke his neck in a practice session, lost his father to cancer and then became ill with zoster, a stress related disease that among many drawbacks, affects equilibrium. And then, just when things could not get worse, the love of his friends and family catapulted James back to his rightful spot in the tennis world and in life.

Generally, when I read books of this kind, I cannot help feeling that the athlete is sharing only what the public expects, holding back facts that they may consider a little embarrassing. We usually see somebody struggling, but that also has a kind of bravado to face the situation. This could not be further from the truth in this case though. I felt that James is not holding anything back and is spilling his guts trying to get us to understand every detail of his struggle. Andrew Friedman definitely helps, displaying a proficient writing style and not letting the book get boring at any point.

Besides containing a fair amount of personal aspects related to the fight against adversity and the importance of friendship, this book has some very interesting insights into the mind of a tennis player. Blake shares with us the process by which he became a professional tennis player, but also what goes through the mind of a pro during a match and at the end of the year when it is time to take stock. There are many snippets of information about players on the tour and these keep us engaged and at times help lighten up the mood.

Blake is the kind of pro that plays from the heart, and you can see that passion in his storytelling too. It is no surprise that his mentor and idol is Andre Agassi, who also displays similar traits in the court. Or that Blake is amazed by the talent of Fernando Gonzalez, who plays without a safety net and goes all out in every point, looking for impossible winners. James Blake lives like this, fighting adversity and going for the break right after his serve has been broken, and he has proven he knows how to do this. Granted, he got some help along the way.

This is a story that can be appreciated by anyone. It does not matter whether you are a tennis player or not. In this regard, the author included a glossary of tennis terms to help the novice, and allow them full enjoyment. I hope that if you read this book you will love it as much as I did, and I wish James every success in his future tournaments. So far 2007 has been a pretty good year for him!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!!, 16 Sep 2009
By 
S. Warren - See all my reviews
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James Blake has always been one of my favourite tennis players, so when this book came out, I felt I just had to get it, and what a bargain I got too!! James has had a very tough life, from a very young age, so reading how he has coped all through, up to this time, is an inspiration to others. A very easy reading book, I would thoroughly recommend it, to not only people who like James, but to people who like tennis in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read., 21 July 2009
By 
Mr. K. R. Brown (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life (Paperback)
Good read putting into prospective some of lifes problems. Good on you James for coming out the otherside.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bought for 14 yr old tennis mad son., 22 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life (Paperback)
I cannot get my son to read anything,but he has nearly finished this book. Inspirational book that shows anything can be achieved if you work hard enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, 9 Jun 2012
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One of the best tennis books I have read. Blake comes across as likeable and honest. It is very well written and a great tale about how to bounce back from adversity and appreciate what matters most in life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A gem amongst the usual tennis bios..., 17 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life (Paperback)
As a fan of all sports, I confess that tennis is my favourite of all. Having read many books on the legends of the game, I was keen to read this book on James Blake - a player who never won the big titles; arguably not living up to his potential.

The book reveals however just what level of ordeal Blake had to face in his time as a tennis professional - phyisical and emotional difficulties that made me realise he was lucky to even remain on the tour, let alone win any further titles. This is an honest, and full acoount of Blake's career up until 2008, and although this may hold increased appeal for real tennis fans, it is recommended for anyone interested in reading about sporting triumph over real adversity.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blake is Back, 1 Feb 2009
By 
Eilis (Kilkenny, Ireland) - See all my reviews
Great book. The personal point of view makes it interesting and readable. You can't but feel that Blake is a superhero or something. To come back from so many setbacks and make it to the top ten is an unbelievable feat. He's almost superhuman!!:)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 21 July 2009
This review is from: Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to reading this book as I love to watch James Blake play tennis, win or lose. I was extremely disappointed therefore to find it to be very repetitive and to come across as a 'me me me book'. I got really tired of reading about how wonderful his dad was, how wonderful his friends are, how hard Blake works. I'm sure this is down to the writing style and not to Blake's personality, and I hope that next time I watch him play tennis, it doesn't affect my admiration of his game.
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Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life
Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life by James Blake (Paperback - 5 Jun 2008)
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