Mr Nastase: The Autobiography Hardcover – 1 Jan 2004
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‘One of the greatest entertainers the game has ever seen’ BBC
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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
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).Read more ›
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!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not the best book about tennis. Still very interesting that Nastase was the first number one of the open era!Published 7 months ago by Fred
Now Mr Nastase reveals high undoubted talent bot in tennis, love for his country and his social adroitness. A great read.Published 22 months ago by Tony Burley
Was big fan of Nastase but disappointed with the book. Maybe it has got 'lost in translation'? Content poor and didn't learn much about the man himself. Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2013 by T E Bowen
Nastase was the original entertainer and bad boy of tennis. He lifted the profile of tennis in the early 70s with his great tennis combined to his explosive and colourful... Read morePublished on 11 Aug. 2013 by Ian Gibson
If you love tennis then this is the book for you. Even though Ilie was playing his best tennis quite a few years ago he still has the power to hold your attention . Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2013 by Gilly
As someone who personally knows 'Mr. Nastase', this autobiography brings out the man that he really is - witty, good fun and sometimes nasty.Published on 28 Oct. 2012 by Thumper
This book is an honest account of very interesting tennis player. And not just a tennisplayer: clown, womanizer, politician etc. Good read.Published on 25 Jan. 2012 by WC_Wingfield