GAME, SET, AND MATCH: The Tennis Boom of the 1960s and 70s by Herbert Warren Wind

GAME, SET, AND MATCH: The Tennis Boom of the 1960s and 70s

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It has been a pleasure over the years to have Herbert Warren Wind's timely, gentlemanly reports on top-level tennis in the New Yorker--but few of these 20 collected pieces are vivid enough to recapture old excitements; and that uninflected, evenly detailed, quite humorless New Yorker-courtly style wears thin in a book-length format. Still, there's much here of charm and value: thoughtful profiles of Arthur Ashe and Chris Evert at their peaks; musings on the remarkable career of Ken Rosewall (""perhaps the most attractive of all the postwar champions""); an interview with tennis legend Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman; reflections on tennis history and on the business side (World Championship tennis, World Team Tennis, the teaching camps); and, most important, Wind's close-to-definitive essay (1977) on ""The Incredible Tennis Explosion."" In tennis-match play-by-play, however, Wind is less effective--it sometimes almost seems as if he never himself has held a racket. So earthier fans will prefer Jack Kramer's sweaty, nuts-and-bolts memoir, The Game (p. 560); and for a truly engrossing tennis close-up, the book is still John McPhee's Levels of the Game (1969)--which also originally appeared in the New Yorker and which Wind mysteriously leaves out of his list of worthy tennis books. But Wind does touch on all the 1962-1978 highlights (yes, Bobby Riggs v. B.J. King is here too) with affectionate shrewdness and curiosity, if no passion--and sedate, serious fans will appreciate having this low-key, leisurely, impressionistic record of tennis in its booming decades.

Pub Date: June 25th, 1979
Publisher: Dutton