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MR Nastase the Autobioiography Paperback – 1 Aug 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (1 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007336977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007336975
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2.2 x 12.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 530,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'Full of rollicking anecdotes…a splendid book’ Mail on Sunday

From the Publisher

It is not an overstatement to say that Ilie Nastase was in part responsible for the explosion of interest in tennis in the seventies. Thanks to his success, his lifestyle, his sex appeal and the controversy that continually surrounded him, Nastase's name was recognisable far beyond the confines of tennis.

Yet, he also had a dark side and he regularly got himself into trouble with umpires and spectators alike. His court-side tantrums and manic questioning of line calls could spiral out of control and, all too often, he found himself fined and disqualified – and making the next day's front pages.

Bjorn Borg had great difficulty adjusting to life after retirement and lost vast amounts of money, while the late Vitas Gerulaitis had a major cocaine problem. Ilie reveals how he helped both of them at a time when their problems were taking a huge toll of their personal lives. He also provides opinions and anecdotes on a host of other characters, including John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe, Henri Leconte, Yannick Noah, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.

As a result of his celebrity status, Nastase moved amongst the beautiful people. His book recalls some of his more memorable encounters and experiences, including dancing the night away in New York's Studio 54 and Castel in Paris with the likes of Bianca Jagger and Claudia Cardinale, and bedding some of the world's most desirable women (an Italian countess and a former Miss UK are among his conquests).

For the many sports fans who followed tennis and followed his career, his stories behind the varied headline-grabbing outbursts will prove fascinating and irresistible. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 27 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
I remember watching TV in the seventies, seeing Ilie Nastase's matches at Wimbledon. Ilie was definitely one of the most interesting players to watch, as we never knew what he was going to do next. Reading his autobiography, it is clear that even Ilie never knew either. He played tennis for the pure enjoyment of it and wasn't that bothered about the money, so sometimes he got angry on court while at other times he laughed and joked.

In this book, Ilie tells us about some of the disputes he had with officials, admitting that he was sometimes at fault but not always, especially pointing to two episodes where umpires were blamed. In a match where Ilie's opponent was John McEnroe, the umpire was changed during the match because the first umpire had clearly lost control. Ilie also discusses some of his matches against Stan Smith, Jimmy Connors (with whom he won some top doubles titles), Bjorn Borg, Vitas Gerulaitis, Arthur Ashe and others. Perhaps the funniest on-court incident concerns a black cat. Ilie knew that one of his opponents in a forthcoming doubles match was very superstitious about black cats and smuggled a black cat onto court concealed in his tennis bag, releasing the cat early in the match, which he and his partner won very easily.

The book is by no means limited to Ilie's career as a tennis player as it also covers his childhood, his womanizing, his three marriages, his four children (two of them adopted), his attempt to become mayor of Bucharest (which he looked certain to win at one stage but ultimately lost narrowly) and so much more. Ilie was particularly shocked by the deaths of Vitas Gerulaitis (from gas poisoning caused by a faulty heating system) and Arthur Ashe (from AIDS caused by infected blood).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nastase was one of the stars of tennis in the 60's and 70's and still plays today in doubles as a veteran, quite often with his long-time partner Jimmy Connors - together they had won some Grand Slam doubles tournaments including Wimbledon. Nastase was and still is a flamboyant character. On court he was temperamental and often lost his cool, sometimes leading to him being unkindly misjudged when he was actually, in my view for one, in the right.

Nastase describes very frankly his behaviour on court and his life generally since his early childhood when he was lucky to be able to play tennis because his father had a job at a tennis club, how he progressed through his own love of the game without any real coaching other than "leave him to it" by someone at the club. The comparison with players nowadays, all so intense and coached up and buffed up and frantic for ranking points is dramatic. He also writes of how difficult it was to live in a Communist country and how careful he had to be not to offend the authorities so that he could be allowed out of the Communist Bloc to play tennis elsewhere.

For me who watched Nastase often at Wimbledon, there aren't many later players who can compare with him for pure flair and a joyous love of just playing the game other than the great Roger Federer (whom Nastase mentions as being a player he greatly admires). Federer was also somewhat temperamental on court in his early days but unlike Nastase, Federer decided to stop being temperamental and be fully focused instead.

Nastase won many matches, some tournaments and two grand slams - Roland Garros and the US Open (though never, sadly, Wimbledon, though coming very close).
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Format: Hardcover
If I'm not missing any, this is the fourth book published about the charismatic and controversial Ilie Nastase (two of which were published in France). This speaks volumes for the popularity enjoyed by this genius of tennis.
Nastase is one of the reasons tennis became so hugely popular back in the 1970s. His talent and personality brought millions of new fans to the game. His combined singles titles (57) and doubles (51) of Grand Prix, WCT and ATP sanctioned tournaments of Open Tennis (since 1968) is only surpassed by John McEnroe - no coincidence here since they are the two greatest natural talents seen in tennis. His Davis Cup record is also phenomenal, playing and winning more matches than anybody else, except Nikki Pietrangeli. Contrary to some erroneous assumptions made by another reviewer, Nastase never left Romania. He did not need to do so, since he was allowed to keep all his earnings. This was part of the deal made with the Romanian Communist authorities, in return for his free and unconditional availability of playing Davis Cup matches.
Reading the book I discovered with great surprise and regret that he is not yet a member of the Wimbledon All England Club. After all, this is the guy that won three Wimbledon doubles titles and played in other two singles finals (the one from 1972 is still regarded as one of the most beautiful and memorable ever played at Wimbledon!). Last but not least, he is the one that saved Wimbledon in 1973 when almost all of the big names boycotted the tournament. I sincerely believe is still not too late for Wimbledon to rectify this injustice.
Finally, I would like to recommend in addition to this wonderful book another excellent one on Nastase. This one, by Richard Evans, was published in the 1977 in USA under "Nasty: Ilie Nastase vs. Tennis" and in England under "Nastase". Any of these and "Mr. Nastase" would certainly make any Nastase fan very, very happy!!
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