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Sports & Recreation Tennis

Tennis' Greatest Stars

by (author) Mike Ryan

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2014
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2014
    List Price

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The exciting history of the modern game with profiles of its greatest players.

From the heat of the Australian Open to the red clay of the French Open, to the majesty of Wimbledon All England to the humidity at the US Open, tennis has been a global sport for decades.

Starting with the tennis pioneers of the 20th century right up to today, star players have influenced cultural movements, ushered in the casual sporting style and sex appeal, and the fight for equal rights. Tennis was the first sport to have openly gay athletes and is the only major sport where women and men take home equal earnings. Tennis has been a leader in race relations since the 1960s.

Tennis' Greatest Stars profiles the 50 greatest and most influential players of the game and presents a historical narrative of athletic prowess, popular culture and social responsibility.

Tennis' Greatest Stars features 50 player profiles in the following categories:

Pioneers and Trailblazers The players who set the stage for modern tennis, including Don Budge, who won the Grand Slam before becoming a pro; Rod Laver, one of the first to adopt the topspin; and Althea Gibson, the first African-American to win a major tennis championship.

The Golden Age The rise of tennis players as celebrities, including Billie Jean King, who defeated Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes"; tantrum-throwing John McEnroe; and equal rights advocate Arthur Ashe.

The 21st Century Tennis has reached new heights in skill and speed as well as entered popular culture. Champions include the powerhouse Williams sisters, Venus and Serena; Roger Federer; Rafael Nadal; and Novak Djokovic.

Tennis' Greatest Stars is packed with action photographs that celebrate the game and thoughtful essays, which cover such topics as the birth of modern tennis, the major tournaments, international play, the various court surfaces and new technologies.

This is a superb book for the fan and a compelling history of a great game.


About the author

Editorial Reviews

Tennis offers a litany of great players: Tilden, Connolly, Connors, Evert, McEnroe, Nadal, and the Williams sisters, to name a few. This work profiles 50 of the greats, covering three eras in tennis: "Pioneers and Personalities: Sensational Stars from the 1920s to the 1970s," "The Open Era: Tennis Greats from 1968 to the 2000s," and "The 21st Century: Modern Era Champions." The biographies are two to four pages long and include a mix of color and black-and-white photographs. In addition to the tennis accomplishments and career highlights, each entry gives the reader a glimpse of the player's personality. For greats like Arthur Ashe and Evonne Goolagong, whose accomplishments go beyond the tennis courts, it's interesting to see some nontennis exploits are highlighted. Along with the biographies are a brief history of tennis and an overview of major tournaments. There is also a chapter called "Passing Shots," which explores the finer points of the game. An index rounds out the volume. This is a good purchase for any tennis collection and is recommended for the circulating collections of public libraries.


Other titles by Mike Ryan