Hardcourt Confidential by Patrick McEnroe & Come to Win by Venus Williams.
Thumbs-up on two tennis related reads that came out over the summer:
Patrick McEnroe has lived and breathed the tennis world a long time (25+years). He has been a top level player (a Grand Slam champ in doubles), Davis Cup team captain, coach, sports commentator and of course brother to American tennis icon John McEnroe. The guy loves to tell stories which is how this book reads, a collection of short stories from the inner world of our game.
I loved the insights on player personalities (Bryan Brothers, James Blake, Andy Roddick and more) as well as the behind the scenes goings-on that the general public is not privy to (wild cards, player coaching, surfaces and more). Much of it is pretty fascinating stuff for a tennis lover. The lives pro tennis players live is intense.
Certainly this is not a how to help your game book but any player will come away with a good sense of the work ethic, head and talent that someone needs to make it to the top our game.
Come to Win is more of all-person’s read than tennis read but the game plays a role here. There are references to tennis in Venus’ introduction but she put the book together with the belief that what she learned playing tennis helped her find success in business.
She wanted to know if others felt the same way about their sport and asked a variety of A-Listers what in their sports experience inspired them toward success as an athlete and again later in life.
The book is a collection of essays by business leaders, media figures, creative executives, politicians and doctors that demonstrate how important playing sports was and still is to success. A few examples: turning losses into learning tools, visualizing a course of action, learning to block out distractions, the importance of preparation etc.
Those profiled who played/play tennis are: Brian P. Kelley, Billie Jean King, Scott McNealy, Leland Melvin, Susan Merseau, Melissa Payner, Robin Roberts, Condoleeza Rice, Irene Rosenfeld, Meg Whitman and Jeff Zucker.
Philip Knight, Vera Wang, Soledad O’Brien and Donny Deutsh are a small handful of the many other interesting personalities offering up stories.
Good read for a tennis player or really anyone who enjoys playing sports.