FOR THE LOVE OF TENNIS by Ronald-Ed. Atkin


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A less than smashing volley of tennis journalism that, among other faults, has a surfeit of English. Atkin (who follows the court game for Great Britain's Observer) scores at least two aces by anthologizing a couple of minor sportswriting classics: Ted Tinling's, so-called inside story of Gussy Moran's fancy laced panties (which stole the show at 1949's Wimbledon), and a bittersweet excerpt from Frank Deford's Big Bill Tilden (1977). Less familiar but moderately rewarding are profiles of Vijay Armitraj (""where East meets West and both give and take a little""), Jean Borotra (the Bounding Basque), Maureen (Little Mo) Connolly, Suzanne Lenglen, Ilie Nastase, Fred Perry, Guillermo Vilas, Virginia Wade, and lesser lights. On the other hand, such luminaries as Connors, Evert, Gonzalez, Kramer, Laver, Lendl, McEnroe, Navratilova, and Rosewall rate only passing shots. Further, many of the 40-odd entries will tell American fans far more than they care to know about Wimbledon, its satellite tournaments, the past glories of English tennis, and related arcana. Verging on the gratuitous and self. indulgent are a baker's dozen pieces recording the antics of members of the international tennis press. For all but dyed-in-the-wool court buffs, then, love's labour's lost.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1986
Publisher: Century Hutchinson--dist. by David & Charles