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for New Members is a beautifully written little book...a gem.
The thoughts are striking and orginal--a
few are quite profound."
--Fiona Hodgkin, author of The Tennis Player from Bermuda
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Makes me fall in love with it all over again."
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012
2:27 pm edt
It Must be LoveFor the last two days and for the next
week and a half, my LAN and cell phones are turned off, the mail is only retrieved every other day, and FrankieB's walks are
confined to early mornings and during the afternoon and evening break between sessions. Because, folks, it's the most exciting
and magical two weeks of the summer: The U.S. Open Tennis tournament is being played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis
Center on Long Island (NY) and is broadcast 18x7 on television. I love it. I am in heaven.
Back when the U.S. Open
was played in Forest Hills at the West Side Tennis Club before it moved in 1978 to its current site—the former location
of the 1967 World's Fair (the Biosphere is still there, at
the entrance)—I was fortunate enough, during my high school and college years, to be given tickets. Privileged
to live close enough to take the subway, I’d spend most of the week in the club stands, watching such great legends
as Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Virginia Wade, and, yes, Billie Jean King, the duchess of the courts,
with whom I once brushed shoulders. Back then the players were required to wear white on the courts; the rackets were made
of wood and strung with cat-gut; the courts were clay, not hard synthetic; and the crowds were smaller, quieter and, I dare
to say, more respectful of the players and the game than they are today.
Fond, loving memories, indeed.
What better way to recall them while watching
the early-round matches than perusing between the covers of The Fireside Book of Tennis: A Complete History of the Game
and its Great Players and Matches, edited by Allison Danzig and Peter Schwed? Many books
about tennis have been written and published since this treasure was first published in 1972 by Simon and Schuster (New York,
NY), but this one, complete with rare photographs, is the prize diamond of the lot. My first edition was this year's birthday
gift from my dear friend and tennis buddy, Betty, and is, because of her generosity and thoughtfulness, even more of a treasure
The Fireside Book of Tennis is a hefty 1043-page tome—a virtual wealth of
stories, articles, remembrances, reminiscences, and anecdotes about the earlier days and greats of tennis—originally
termed "the sport of kings". This compendium includes the writings of various tennis professionals and journalists,
including Allison Danzig, himself a former tennis professional and writer, about such memorable personages, to name a few,
as Fred Perry; Bryan (Bitsy) Grant; Arthur Ashe; René Lacoste, who designed the tennis polo shirt
and won the first Tournament at Rolands Garroux; Rod Laver, Chris Evert, the current editor of the USTA Tennis Magazine; Suzanne Lenglen; Helen Wills; and Evonne Goolagong, the first Australian woman to
win the US Open.
I could go on and on listing and commenting upon the intriguingly interesting content, but I won't.
This afternoon and evening Roger Federer, Kim Clijsters, Samatha Stosur, David Ferrer, and Maria Sharapova—just a few
of my current favorites—are playing and I want to watch each and every point, game, set, and match.
You see, not only playing the sport, but watching one of the best tournaments in the world while reading the best,
most informative book ever written about tennis must be, for me, a matter of love.
J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is
an author, poet, and librettist. Her currenty published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations,
volumes of poetry, stories
for children (of all ages) and
a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Monster: A Novel of Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville
during World War II
Rainbow in the Sky
Meditations for New Members
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her fourth novel.