While tennis sure is a year-round activity for the serious tennis-heads of the group, if you find yourself a victim to the winter weather, or perhaps you haven’t come to realise yet that you in fact do have the athletic proclivities required for the most beautiful sport of all, consider reconnecting with some tennis-based reading for the off-season. Be it a deep dive into a tennis memoir, a glossy A4 spread of images for a fix of visually gifted players wearing overly hugging sports shorts, or a (slightly) juicy novel. Find an indoor spot where you won’t lose sensation in your fingertips and call it ‘pre-season mental training’. Here, 5 of our recommendations to read during the Winter of 2023.
The Inner Game of Tennis By W. Timothy Gallwey
Like having a catch-up with a wise mentor who just happens to be fervent about tennis. It's not just about forehands and backhands; it's a journey into self-awareness, focus, and the art of letting go of self-doubt. In the book that Palmes friend and tennis coach Simon Hegelund describes as his bible, Gallwey proposes that tennis is composed of two distinct games. There’s the outer game, which is the mechanical part—how you hold the racket, how you keep your arm level on your backhand, and so on. But what he really indulges in, is the inner game, where your opponent is not the person on the other side of the net, the inner game “is played against such obstacles as lapses in concentration, nervousness, self-doubt, and self-condemnation. In short, it is played to overcome all habits of mind which inhibit excellence in performance.,” he writes.
41-Love By Scarlett Thomas
Imagine a blend of witty laughs, resonating characters, and a plot that keeps you hooked like a catchy tune. The book is an unconventional sports memoir based on writer Scarlett Thomas’ midlife crisis where she finds herself addicted to the competition of the sport, and she worries about how tennis is impacting her mental health, all the while desperately avoiding the pressure of growing up and the demands of life when you reach the forties.Thomas serves up a platter of tennis, friendship, and a dash of mystery that makes this book a page-turner. It's not just about scoring points on the court; it's about the humorous escapades and her confessions of just how far she’s willing to go to secure a win.
Bagel really tugs at the best of everything, that is, if you’re a) at least a little bit interested in tennis, and b) into things that look graphically exhilarating. With a mix of very nerdy tennis pieces, local grassroots communities, culture and style, alongside big interviews and enticing visual layouts. Pick up Bagel when you need something easy to distract your mind for a little while. The magazine aims to reflect how tennis’s role in popular culture has shifted, in an unprecedented era where dominance from Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Williams is coming to a gradual end with a new generation of players taking it upon themselves to stamp their authority on the game. Bagel tells us all about the toughest kits on the market while fucking up tennis culture in a progressive, forward-thinking way.
Open By Andre Aggasi
Agassi's candid tale transcends the game, delving into the highs and lows of fame, his uncomfortable relationship with his own reputation, family, and self-discovery, as he grew to resent the game which built him. It's an open, yet deeply-personal, invitation to understand the man behind the champion, complete with victories, vulnerabilities, and a generous sprinkle of humour. It is intense, reassuring, transparent, invasive, supportive, haunting, and spectacular. All of the above, all at once. A moving read and undoubtably appropriate for the lesser of the tennis fanatics.
All In By Billie Jean King
Hers is the story of a pathbreaking feminist, a world-class athlete, and an indomitable spirit whose impact has gone beyond even her achievements in sports. King describes her life’s journey in intimate detail – things she could never share when she most needed to. Her experiences act as an upsetting yet rewarding reminder of how society has changed since King’s prime era in the 60’s. She offers insights and advice on leadership, business, activism, sports, politics, marriage equality, parenting, sexuality and love.