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Tennis Confidential II:
Introduction

TC 2

Tennis fans love to argue.  Who has the best forehand?  Which Grand Slam tournament is the toughest to win?  Should tennis allow on-court coaching?  Are changes in the scoring system helpful or harmful?  Nothing gets passions flaring and voices blaring more than a debate about the greatest player ever.

When aficionados ask me who's the greatest of all time, I know a fierce argument is brewing.  Whether they pick Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Rod Laver or Bjorn Borg, and Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf or Suzanne Lenglen, these fervent advocates have done their homework.  I had better be ready.  Over the years I've learned from these stimulating debates, and they've inspired me to write essays evaluating and rating the top champions.

Sports thrive on controversies, and like my first book, Tennis Confidential: Today's Greatest Players, Matches, and Controversies, this sequel gives you plenty of essays about raging, topical debates.  Whether you agree or disagree with my analyses, I guarantee you'll think about these controversies in new ways.  Perhaps you will even change some of your staunchly held positions. 

For example, advocates of Player Challenges (the system used to implement the marvelous Hawk-Eye line-calling technology) should consider that 13 factors make accurate human line-calling difficult and sometimes virtually impossible.

Are pro tennis' ranking systems − that don't count all tournament results − fair? 

What's wrong with on-court coaching?  Plenty!  How about replacing entire deciding (third) sets with a mere tiebreaker?  You cannot be serious!  Recent rule change blunders, including ATP Tour round-robin formats (which caused an angry outcry and were rescinded), remind me of Thomas Carlyle's maxim: "Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight."

For those who wonder about America's current decline in international tennis, "How America Can Produce Tennis Champions Again" provides abundant analysis and proposals to ponder. 

Tennis Confidential II features chronicle how Pete Sampras rebounded from his longest and deepest slump, probe the many intriguing sides of Andre Agassi, and describe famous feuds in tennis history.  I'm sure you can guess several of them.  How did Russia become a tennis superpower?  What era produced not only a men's dynasty but also some of the most fun-loving characters ever?  Since the majority of recreational players favor doubles, my piece, "Double the Pleasure − or Pressure?", should be especially appealing to them.

In-depth features also cover the fascinating evolution of women's tennis that finally, after years of obtuse resistance by male tennis leaders, culminated in 2007 with equal prize money at all Grand Slam events. 

Readers have often told me that their favorite genre is the Q&A interview because only there do they get the true story about players unfiltered by a writer's edits.  TC II contains 12 such interviews with compelling and candid characters, including Yannick Noah, Martina Hingis, Mats Wilander, Gene Scott and Jim Courier. 

Sprinkled throughout the interviews, essays and features are tennis significa and trivia that will amuse and amaze you.  Which player hires her hitting partners on the basis that "If you can beat me, you can hit with me."? Who did John McEnroe call "the next John McEnroe"? And what reason did Maria Sharapova give in 2005 for not having a boyfriend?  "Fascinating Facts" sidebars give you the answers.

I hope you enjoy reading TC II as thoroughly as I've enjoyed writing it.  Feel free to e-mail me with your comments.

Read More About Tennis Confidential II

Read the Foreword by Mary Carillo

Read the Table of Contents

Read Reviews of Tennis Confidential II

 

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  -- an angry John McEnroe shouted at a tough crowd (1984)

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