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Venus Envy: A Sensational Season Inside the Women's Tennis Tour Hardcover – 6 Sep 2001
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A behind-the-scenes look at the hugely popular and often controversial world of women's tennis featuring such household names as Venus and Serena Williams and Anna Kournikova. At a time when attendance and TV ratings for women's tennis are at an all-time high, Sports Illustrated writer L.Jon Wertheim, draws on his investigative talents and knowledge of the game to infiltrate the heretofore closed locker rooms of the women's tour and chronicle this remarkable era in the sport's history. With a narrative sweep that rockets along like a Venus Williams serve, it takes the reader from the year's first Grand Slam tournament--where a top player ignited a firestorm of controversy when she decided to come out-- to Venus' epochal victory at Wimbledon to the U.S. Open where Serena Williams defends her title and all the whistle-stop tournaments in between where the Russian vixen Anna Kournikova sent hormonally challenged teenagers, not to mention male sportswriters, into a frenzy, Venus Envy offers the reader the equivalent of a center-court seat and an all-access locker room pass.The book will contain a wealth of previously unreported, inside-the-locker room anecdotes about the marquee names in women's tennis and should engender much off-the-book-page coverage. There are more identifiable stars than ever before and the rivalries are intense and often rancorous. The book will even appeal to those readers with only a passing interest in tennis since many of the players have transcended the sport, appearing on the covers of magazine like GQ, Rolling Stone and Vogue.
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It is a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the best women tennis players in the world, the ups and downs of being one of those players, and sometimes the dangers that they face being in the position they are in.
Whether you're a massive fan of the number one player in the world, Martina Hingis, or the dominating Williams sisters, or you just want to know why Anna Kournikova is one of the highest earners on the tour, having never won a tournament, this is the book you need to read.
Chapters include the stabbing of Monica Seles, the famous fathers of Mary Pierce, Jelena Dokic, and the Williams sisters, relationships between the players (male and female), and many colour photographs.
A brilliant book that you just won't be able to put down!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
For the better part of the 1990s, all we heard from tennis aficionados was how the sport was dead in the USA, how the dominance of Steffi Graf & Monica Seles failed to raise the sport's profile a la Martina & Chris and how the women's game pailed miserably in comparison to what was a bustling men's game (you still had Sampras, Agassi, Becker, Moya, Bruguera, Courier, Chang, Washington, Stich, Henman and Rafter doing wonders for the sport's popularity).
BUT, along comes a new, different and exciting generation of young pony-tailed, bleached-blond and beaded wonders who were as eye-catching in appearance as their game's were revolutionary, aggressive and athletic.
This book attempts to capture the essence of what Martina Hingis, the Williams sisters and Anna Kournikova brought to a table that already included notable top players like Lindsay Davenport and Mary Pierce.
You'll get a refreshing behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the women's locker room.
You've got the smug, borderline arrogant Hingis, the world No. 1 that everyone respects but nobody really likes off court.
You've got the Hingis-foil Williams sisters who couldn't be more different: African-American, large, strong and coming up from the hood to wreck havoc on the lily white, privileged tennis establishment.
Then you've got the sex-kitten, Lolita type in Anna Kournikova -- a celebral player with good hands to match that gets more credit for the skimpy outfits and goldie locks, girly girly appeal that sent pre-pubescent kids & dirty old men into a frenzy a like.
All four players were immensely talented and all contributed to the rivalries that gave rise to the pro women's tennis circuit heading into the new millennium.
This book specifically will look at the 2000 women's tennis season, so it'll focus on Venus Williams' ascent to becoming the best player in the world with wins at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Olympics.
However, this book easily could've been used on a broader scale to examine women's tennis: 1997-2001.
That's what I'd consider the golden age of the sport's re-emergence in popularity. Hingis, the Williamses, Kournikova, Capriati, Davenport and Pierce were at their best and you literally didn't know who'd win a tournament when all were present.
In hindsight, this era is definitely in stark contrast to the present: none of the top players are healthy at the same time & you can't get all of them into the same tournament to save your life.
This book will make you miss the 1997-2001 era ... the Henins, Clijsters, Sharapovas and other Russian "Ovas" lack personality if you ask me.
But back to the book ...
The main criticism, and it's a small one, you don't necessarily get the "head to head" feeling of why the players disliked each other or for that matter any sense of unifying quality where a Martina, Serena, Venus and Anna can all take credit for raising the game's profile.
Cat fights, sex appeal and power games were what this generation brought to the table, but that's an inference.
The behind the scenes banter among the world's best players is what this book delivers.
Martina Hingis is covered in depth as the rest of the tour players finally caught up with her and started to pass her. Her relationship with her mother is covered as well as her cocky, confident attitude. Lindsey Davenport gets great coverage as a friend to all, a great tennis player, but really just an average American kid with a superlative talent. The book also did a good job of covering Capriati even though it was about the season prior to her breakthrough of two Grandslams.
But this book really is about the "Superstars" of the tour, the Williams sisters and Anna Kournikova. Kournikova is portrayed just as she is seen; an attractive brat who is so self absorbed it's hard to see why anyone could like her if they had to speak to her. And the Williams sisters are presented as superb athletic players without the social skills to build close relationships on the tour and handicapped by a joker of a father who concocts bold lies to make up for his shortcomings and the spotlight not always being on him.
Yes, just another typical day at the office if you happen to be a women's tennis pro. Read this book if you like tennis or primma donnas.