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Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life Paperback – 5 Jun 2008
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“The grace and dignity that James has shown during some very difficult times has been a source of great inspiration.” (Andre Agassi)
“Blake is a champion—in every sense of the word.” (Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue)
“I’ve known James since early childhood...James’s rise to international success is as stunning as it was predictable.” (John Mayer)
“Through Blake’s commitment and passion, he tells the story of the life lessons he learned while facing difficult personal challenges.” (—Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, wife of the late Arthur Ashe)
“[James Blake] has inspired young people everywhere with his story of courage and determination.” (—former president George H.W. Bush)
About the Author
James Blake has been a professional tennis player since 1999, when he left Harvard to join the professional tennis circuit. He grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut, and currently resides in Tampa, Florida.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
It seems the book was written to capitalize on James' successes in the 20005/2006 season, when he came to proeminence mainly due to the great match against Agassi in the 2005 US Open. That year, his rowdy and supportive organized fans called "The J-Block" began to be noticed also. Suddenly, James was being called to interviews with Oprah, Letterman, everybody, when it became known aout his problmes, be it: death of his father due to stomach cancer; an impact against a net pole in Rome which could have made him paralysed and an attack of herpes zoster.
Well, I knew about it before buying the book, and in no way I was going to read it to be upflifted by his will power or whatever. Don't need that. All the things he have passed, a lot of people have suffered or worse (mainly, unfortunately, the loss of a family member to cancer - including myself). Also, situations that may threaten a career. I bought the book to read about tennis and tennis life on the Tour and also, of course, because Blake's style of playing was fantastic in my opinion: aggressive, straight shots, big serve, one-hand backhand.
But here was so little of it. Blake claims that the suffering made himn realize how he was fortunate to be a professional tennis player, because the players live ina bubble and don't know about the reality of it. But this is not very clear in the book. In no way it seems that James was "lost" personally. On the contrary, he says over and over again that his parents always put things in perspective, including how study wa so important (James went to college befeore turning pro).Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Inspiring book which is written by a humble guy who is articulate and able to communicate important principles well.Published 23 days ago by kewitsch
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.Published on 22 Mar. 2014 by olliesmum
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... Read morePublished on 9 Jun. 2012 by Lazy Man
Good read putting into prospective some of lifes problems. Good on you James for coming out the otherside.Published on 21 July 2009 by Mr. K. R. Brown