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on 17 November 2015
Excellent history of tennis. The author has meticulously researched her subject. It is presented clearly and in chronological order. On the way, the tennis careers of various famous champions are outlined and appraised; she is notably sympathetic to those who succeeded, even if not completely, when they started from disadvantageous backgrounds. Her main thesis about tennis resembling the performing arts, such as ballet, is interesting although not completely sustained. However, this is probably owing to the increasing commercialisation and global control of finance capital and television that has sedulously led to alteration in rules and surfaces away from its origins in 'lawn tennis'. Elizabeth Wilson is well informed about this and - in the manner of a good tennis player - subtly adjusts her approach towards a more sociological analysis, though this does make some of her shots about capitalism possibly a bit heavy-handed for some tastes. So maybe not one for great aunt Elspeth.
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on 2 September 2014
I really enjoyed this history of tennis, there could easily be a part 2 about the modern game. Well written, good insight into the players and game of tennis and how it's evolved. Would be a nice present for any tennis lover
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on 8 July 2014
I haven't finished reading this book yet although I have dipped a great deal beyond where I've read. This book is the inside story of tennis right from the very early days and it's a thriller. You learn so much that probably you never knew before, right from the snobby start of this game when "the lower classes" were not welcomed or if they managed to play were despised, up to the "corporates" who control the game now and decide what we punters "will want to see or not see"... and how wrong those corporates are as so many of us are sick to death of the type of tennis they think we should like and the players who play it are losing popularity. Tennis should be a game of contrasts, not of uniform speed on courts whether they are grass, clay or hard indoor or hard outdoor. We are bored rigid with the dreary baseline game on deary slow courts, we want variety back in the game and the writer of this book expresses very clearly our frustration with the new racquets that seem to do most of the work for the player and the dreary slow courts that enforce long dull rallies and no charm whatsoever in the game. Even Television has started to complain that matches are too long........

Thank you, Ms Wilson, for writing this fascinating and pertinent book. Please heaven she and others who express the frustrations of audiences about baseline bores can have some effect. The best thing of all would be to see the dull slow courts broken up and grass put down...... Back to the real game of LAWN TENNIS along with variable hard courts and clay.
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on 14 June 2014
A terrific book which takes a refreshingly different approach to most commentaries on the game. Every tennis fan should read it.
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on 13 October 2015
Item as described, swift delivery
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on 13 September 2014
An odd mix. A superb introductory survey of tennis history combined with some really poorly argued analysis of modern tennis' development. I happen to agree with a lot of the author's views, but it often feels like facts are being overly selectively marshalled to fit the theory, rather than analysed from scratch to reach a theory. A particularly unfortunate example is her use of Steve Darcis as an example of "young players" upsetting the status quo when defeating Rafa Nadal (a player 2 years his junior). Really worth a read even if the theorising felt gratingly sophomoric to his reviewer.
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