Tennis Confidential II:
Foreword by Mary Carillo
If you've picked up this book, it is likely that you are a serious player and fan of the game. Even if you're just a casual tennis aficionado, Tennis Confidential II will turn you into a serious fan, as it is written by the least casual tennis writer I know.
Paul Fein is one of the most clear-eyed, passionate tennis authors, coaches and players we have, and in a perfect world this book would be required reading for the game's leaders and its followers. Pore over his essays, features and interviews, and you will discover why.
It doesn't hurt that Paul's extensive background in tennis has given him a bedrock knowledge and understanding of every facet of the sport. He has quite literally built his deep perspective from the ground up − he's even helped rebuild courts in his home town's public park. He has played high-level tennis, coached it, run satellite tournaments, umpired college matches, interviewed scores of professional players, been a broadcaster, watched thousands of matches. Paul Fein cares about all aspects of tennis, at every level of the sport, because he has been involved in every level. There are far too few tennis writers who can appreciate the myriad layers, joys and agonies of this remarkable game. Paul comes by his wisdom honestly − he's earned every bit of it.
You might guess that his credentials would make Paul Fein strictly Old School, through and through. In some ways the designation is apt − he is a deep respecter of the game's history and traditions, and is partial to players who still use a full vocabulary of tennis gifts − touch, power, serve and volley as well as ground strokes, players whose skill sets translate well on any surface, under the toughest conditions. Amen to all that. But he is not locked in some tennis time warp; quite the opposite. His reasoning is nimble and fluid; forward-thinking, in fact. There have been drastic sea changes in the sport over the years, and he has navigated through all of them with vision and clarity, acceptance as well as resistance.
What separates Paul from so many others is that it isn't enough for him to take on the biggest, trickiest, most subtly shaded issues, controversies and debates in tennis. This he does, with balance and good humor. But Paul will then offer solutions to the problems − real answers to the game's hardest questions. Even if you don't agree with his conclusions, you will know that he has taken you on a thoughtful, comprehensive trip through the many minefields of the sport. He may not change your mind, but he will certainly challenge your mind set.
I am indebted to Paul for contributing so much intelligence, common sense and uncommon sense to the dialogue of the sport. Where I come from − the land of television − things happen in a hurry, and an awful lot of opinions and judgments are hasty, sometimes spouted for effect and attention. Too many decisions get made, God help us all, "for ratings." It's why I always look forward to the next Paul Fein article. I know there will be real heft to the writing, true thoughtfulness to the words on the page, real scholarship by one of the best tennis writers around. Enjoy.
29 November 2007
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