The Racquet Required Book Club

NOTE: Some books have multiple covers so if you are looking for them at a bookstore or at the library – look for the title, not the picture.

The Racquet Required web site is doing a book club.  Between now and December 5th you can vote on one of six tennis books for the first book club selection.  Then they will have a live chat about the book that is chosen on January 7th.  Here is their list – whether you are looking to be in a tennis book club or are just looking for a tennis book for you or for a tennis related gift.

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The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese
When Abraham Verghese, a physician whose marriage is unraveling, relocates to El Paso, Texas, he hopes to make a fresh start as a staff member at the county hospital. There he meets David Smith, a medical student recovering from drug addiction, and the two men begin a tennis ritual that allows them to shed their inhibitions and find security in the sport they love and with each other. This friendship between doctor and intern grows increasingly rich and complex, more intimate than two men usually allow. Just when it seems nothing can go wrong, the dark beast from David’s past emerges once again—and almost everything Verghese has come to trust and believe in is threatened as David spirals out of control.

High Strung: Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, and the Untold Story of Tennis’s Fiercest Rivalry by Stephen Tignor
The golden age of tennis came crashing down suddenly at the 1981 U.S. Open. Bjorn Borg, the stoical Swede who had become the richest and most famous player in the sport’s history, had just lost to his brash young rival, John McEnroe, in the final at Flushing Meadows. After his last shot floated out, Borg walked to the net, shook McEnroe’s hand in silence, and disappeared from the game he had dominated for the last decade.
Through the lens of that era’s final tournament, the 1981 U.S. Open, High Strung chronicles the lives and careers of the men who made those Wild West days of tennis so memorable. The Swede known as “Ice Borg,” who secretly harbored an inner madman. McEnroe, the tortured, bratty genius who was destined to slay his idol. Connors, the blue-collar kid who tore the cover off the ball—and the game itself—becoming a beloved antihero. Ilie Nastase, the Romanian clown who tested the outer limits of acceptable behavior and taste. Gerulaitis, the New York charmer and Studio 54 regular who was friend to them all. And Ivan Lendl, the robotic Czech who became a harbinger of tennis’s high-powered future. The struggles these men shared were as compelling off the court as they were on. Some thrived, some survived, some were destroyed, but none has ever been forgotten.

Killer Instinct by Martina Navratilova
MENACE, ANYONE? At Desert Springs Sports Science Clinic bad things are happening to good people. Jasmine Li, darling of the tennis circuit, receives mysterious threats. Her fiancé, an ex-NFL star dead set on a tennis Grand Slam, has a tragic accident. Champ-turned-sports-therapist Jordan Myles has terrifying brushes with death. Who’s behind these frightening incidents? As Jordan chases clues in Madison Square Garden, Palm Springs, and Hilton Head, another sort of game emerges–one so brutal it makes tennis seem like tiddlywinks. . . .

A Terrible Splendor: Three Extraordinary Men, a World Poised for War, and the Greatest Tennis Match Ever Played by Marshall Jon Fisher
Before Federer versus Nadal, before Borg versus McEnroe, the greatest tennis match ever played pitted the dominant Don Budge against the seductively handsome Baron Gottfried von Cramm. This deciding 1937 Davis Cup match, played on the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon, was a battle of titans: the world’s number one tennis player against the number two; America against Germany; democracy against fascism. For five superhuman sets, the duo’s brilliant shotmaking kept the Centre Court crowd–and the world–spellbound. But the match’s significance extended well beyond the immaculate grass courts of Wimbledon. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the brink of World War II, one man played for the pride of his country while the other played for his life. Budge, the humble hard-working American who would soon become the first man to win all four Grand Slam titles in the same year, vied to keep the Davis Cup out of the hands of the Nazi regime. On the other side of the net, the immensely popular and elegant von Cramm fought Budge point for point knowing that a loss might precipitate his descent into the living hell being constructed behind barbed wire back home. Set at a time when sports and politics were inextricably linked, A Terrible Splendor gives readers a courtside seat on that fateful day, moving gracefully between the tennis match for the ages and the dramatic events leading Germany, Britain, and America into global war. A book like no other in its weaving of social significance and athletic spectacle, this soul-stirring account is ultimately a tribute to the strength of the human spirit.

Rafa by Rafael Nadal & John Carlin
What makes a champion? What does it take to be the best in the world at your sport?
Rafael Nadal, one of the greatest players in the history of tennis, has the answers. In his memoir, written with award-winning journalist John Carlin, he reveals the secrets of his game and shares the inspiring personal story behind his success. It begins in Mallorca, a small island on the Mediterranean Sea, where the tight-knit Nadal family has lived for generations. Coached by his uncle Toni from the age of four, taught humility and respect by his parents, cherished by his exceptionally close extended family, Nadal has managed the uncommon feat of becoming an acclaimed global celebrity while remaining an unfailingly gracious, relentlessly hardworking role model for people in all walks of life. With candor, heart, and intelligence, Rafael Nadal takes readers on his life’s dramatic and triumphant journey, never losing sight along the way of the prize he values above all others: the unity and love of his family.

Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew by Scoop Malinowski
This book is a unique, abstract portrait of former ATP #1 ranked tennis player Marcelo Rios of Chile from various sources and perspectives, including opponents, friends, media, fans, photographers, his coaches, industry people, tournament officials, etc. Rios possessed the wondrous talent which could have won ten Grand Slams – according to Marat Safin, and a maverick personality which fascinated, bewildered and awed the tennis world from 1994 to 2003. In this book you will learn many insights and anecdotes about Rios and his unparalleled experience on the professional tennis circuit, such as the time he punched out a fan at a Miami restaurant, the time a woman left his hotel room screaming, how his spectacular skills could make even a top ten player feel like a novice on the court. All hardcore tennis fans will greatly enjoy this book.

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