Foster Wallace who committed suicide in2008 (?) is largely acknowledged to have been the best writer of tennis, among other writings. In this collection which has five of his essays,the most well known one is his profile of Roger Federer. Wallace brought into his tennis writing the expertise he gained on the court as a junior player of some repute in the school circuit. to carry on this court expertise to his writing is a difficult job but Wallace does it with lean. This is one of those books where the introduction (John Jeremiah Sullivan) enhances the gravitas of the collection.Sullivan beautifully invokes the early history of the game and its presence in literature including that of Shakespeare. For me, the best piece in the collection is the one on Michael Joyce his contemporary player, whose career he chronicles with a rare passion and curiosity. the piece gets us to understand the world of tennis from that of a young player trying to make it. the essays takes us into the dilemmas, the long periods of agony and the all too brief moments of triumph in a sportsman life. That Wallace ended his life early, gradually demolished by the clouds of depression that hung around him, is a tragedy for literature and sports writing. This is a small but fabulous collection which should adorn the shelf of any book lover. A sports writer should study this book all his life.
Bought it on a recommendation from Bill Gates (himself) and, apart from the last article on *Roger Federer as Religious Experience* (it's available free on the Net), didn't think it was worth the ₹982 that i paid for the book
The other article i read on the US Open '95 ("A USTA event") is too rambling; let's see how the remaining three are.