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Late to the Ball: Age. Learn. Fight. Love. Play Tennis. Win. Hardcover – 17 May 2016

4.1 out of 5 stars 54 ratings

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Review

"As surprising as a well-disguised drop shot, as emphatic as a down-the-line sizzler, Late to the Ball is a revelatory guidebook to life and sport. In this sparkling memoir, Gerry Marzorati's plunge into the world of tennis isn't a quixotic lark--or Plimptonian stunt--it's about dedication and perseverance, second acts and third acts, and what happens when the spirit soars as the body begins to ache and hobble a little more. Marzorati is the most amiable guide and seeker I've read in years. His pursuit of meaning after sixty, delineated by the lines of a tennis court, includes intriguing science and philosophy, psychology and spiritualism, but what glimmers for this reader at the end is Marzorati's appreciation--call it awe--of a game that brings with it a sense of ageless joy, mystery, and beauty."
--Michael Paterniti, author of Love and Other Ways of Dying and The Telling Room

"Marzorati teaches us that to be a novice is a gift. This book is for anyone who'd like to improve, at anything."
--Leanne Shapton, author of Swimming Studies

"Gerry Marzorati was the Rod Laver of editors because of his rare enthusiasm, quick intelligence and shining insight. Now, in Late to the Ball, he brings those same qualities to his quest for mid-life self-understanding through the prism of a tennis racket. Will he defeat opponents? Himself? Time? This urgent, meticulous book hits the mortal sweet spot known as revelation."
--Nicholas Dawidoff, author of The Catcher was a Spy

"Gerald Marzorati might have taken up painting at age 60. Or even guitar. Instead, he took up tennis. Competitive tennis. And I am so glad he did. His account of this surprising late middle-age journey simply took my breath away. It's filled with terrific tennis writing, sure, but more than that Late to the Ball is a deeply moving--inspiring, really--story of renewal and regrowth."
--Jonathan Mahler, author of Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning

"Marzorati's prose is crisp and clean and his storytelling is focused. He also demonstrates an editor's knack for capturing the intricacies of other people's lives....This enjoyable work is a study of the physicality, psychology, and biology of learning."--Publishers Weekly

"Late to the Ball is a soulful meditation on aging, companionship and the power of self-improvement. I know that sounds like the kind of cheesy thing people say on the cover of book jackets. But it's really true."
--Jason Gay, The Wall Street Journal

"[Marzorati] undertakes a rigorous program of improving his tennis and himself, introducing us along the way to an appealing cast....He movingly meditates--at one point bringing me to tears--on the bond one forms with somebody whom one plays with and competes against, whom one faces across the net as if in a mirror. Reflective, wise and amiable, Marzorati is the kind of person and tennis player you'd be happy to share a game with and a beer afterward."
--The New York Times Book Review

"[Marzorati] documents his unlikely late-in-life transformation into a tennis addict in his spirited and winningly self-deprecating memoir, Late to the Ball. It's a book that any reader, regardless of age, or knowledge of the sport, would devour."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"Marzorati's prose is conversational, and the book encompasses more than insightful sportswriting--it is an intimate and captivating look at athleticism, competition, and aging."
--The New Yorker

"Late to the Ball offers a courtside seat for an affirming, against-the-odds contest....Like Marzorati, I am also a late convent to tennis and relished his dogged quest as a consequence."
--Financial Times (UK)

About the Author

Gerald Marzorati was the editor of The New York Times Magazine from 2003 until 2010. He previously worked as an editor at Harper's magazine and The New Yorker. He is the author of Late to the Ball and A Painter of Darkness, which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for a first book of nonfiction. His writing about tennis has appeared in The New York Times and on NewYorker.com.

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
54 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 July 2016
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 June 2017
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Top international reviews

Ulysse
3.0 out of 5 stars Clin d'oeil sympathique au tennis des anciens.
Reviewed in France on 30 December 2018
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Robert Powers
5.0 out of 5 stars Late to the ball, moving forward in life.
Reviewed in Canada on 1 February 2017
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P. Leary
2.0 out of 5 stars I was sure I was going to fall in love with this book
Reviewed in the United States on 26 March 2018
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C. Brown1
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book
Reviewed in the United States on 14 July 2016
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Steven
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Treatment of Awesome Sport with Literary Panache
Reviewed in the United States on 2 October 2016
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TJWag
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm really loving it!
Reviewed in the United States on 13 December 2016
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SUSAN NORDSTROM
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read.
Reviewed in the United States on 20 November 2017
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Rob
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Book...
Reviewed in the United States on 23 May 2016
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SuburbSteve
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a fun, light book which does a great job showing ...
Reviewed in the United States on 4 October 2017
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igor dumbadze
3.0 out of 5 stars ...and why are you doing this?...
Reviewed in the United States on 3 July 2016
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chiplatt
3.0 out of 5 stars Like a well intentioned shot that misses wide
Reviewed in the United States on 15 August 2016
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Marc Machiz
5.0 out of 5 stars Face the Failing Light With a Racket and a ball
Reviewed in the United States on 6 December 2017
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BAI
4.0 out of 5 stars Profound
Reviewed in the United States on 8 March 2018
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Goldenator
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine book on going less than gently into that good night
Reviewed in the United States on 22 August 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars A smashing hit!
Reviewed in the United States on 17 August 2016
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