Thursday, May 28, 2009


As I watch Jo-Wilfried Tsonga try to beat Juan Monaco at Roland Garros (go Jo-W!!!), I will also talk about the book I just skimmed--OMG BREAK BACK TSONGA AND HE HAS A MATCH POINT. Ahem. So the book I want to mention is Strokes of Genius, by L. Jon Wertheim.

Match point 2! Okay, wow. Seriously good effort from Monaco--but it is not his day! Jo Wilfried Tsonga def. Juan Monaco! Very lovely. Tsonga is so adorable at home in France.

Okay. Wow. The review. First let me just admit that I am a huge fan of Federer. It would not be inaccurate to say I am crazy for him; I love his technique, his precision, the beauty and elegance of his game. I also really love Nadal, but I desperately wanted Federer to win the Wimbledon final last year. Which he did not.

Strokes of Genius discusses that match, now known as (and indicated in the subtitle as) "the "greatest match ever played." In the text, Wertheim combines minute disucssions of the match itself with biographical information about the players, analyses of their games and strengths/weaknesses, and musings about tennis in general. He is a lively writer and the book moves along well.

Okay, I should admit I have to skim the parts that discuss the match. Those are too painful for me still. However, the rest of the work gives great information, and if you are not devastated when Federer loses at a Grand Slam, you will enjoy this book in its entirety. Wertheim had more access to Nadal than Federer; he seems to have had lots of discussions with Nadal's coach, Toni Nadal (his uncle), whereas much of the Fed info and quotes are from already existing pressers and interviews. That said, I do believe he did talk with Federer directly and he seems to have had discussions with his parents and some people who have worked with him. I learned things I did not know about Federer, which is saying something. The Nadal half of the book is more revelatory, however, in my opinion, partic. bec. Nadal has been so close-mouthed about his--well, about everything. Sometimes, Wertheim gets crass (the use of "ass," "zit," and other slang was jarring in tennis writing), but he is very knowledgeable and insightful, and I like his prose. In the end, the book has to kind of be Nadal's as he was the victor of the match, and that's fine. Federer/Nadal is a great rivalry, and Wertheim does a great job of discussing this in detail and making it richer and more resonant.

Anyway, god, I hope Federer does well at Wimbledon even in this (difficult) year for him.

In conclusion, there is only one thing left to say. GO CAVS. DO NOT QUIT.

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