AD IN AD OUT: COLLECTED TENNIS ARTICLES OF MICHAEL MEWSHAW 1982-2015
For the past thirty-five years Michael Mewshaw has covered pro tennis with a novelist’s sense of style, a travel writer’s feeling for place and an investigative reporter’s commitment to unearthing the truth. Like Short Circuit, his description of life on the men’s tour – the New York Times hailed it as “one of the best books ever written about tennis, and the most timely” – and Ladies of the Court, his account of the women’s circuit, Mewshaw’s articles offer original and often shocking insights into a sport that all too often receives superficial coverage. AD IN AD OUT ranges over four decades, providing vivid profiles of Bjorn Borg, Gabriella Sabatini, Monica Seles, Ivan Lendl, Andrea Jaeger, Andre Agassi, Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams.
It depicts the sport’s beauty, its captivating geometry, and its exhilarating mano a mano competition. Whether analyzing a Grand Slam final or self-deprecatingly admitting his own comic attempts to master the game, Mewshaw conveys his knowledge of tennis history, along with his passion for the sport and the men and women who excel at it. His evocation of high stakes tournaments in Italy, France and England is more than equaled by his accounts of matches on garage rooftops, on private and public London courts, and beside a Spanish swimming pool where his opponent wears espadrilles and a bikini.
But AD IN AD OUT also discusses subjects that rarely get reported. Betting and match-fixing, performance enhancing drugs, tanking and sexual abuse all come in for factual examination. And so does the increasing frequency with which tournaments are played in sunny places for shady people, i.e. in tax havens, repressive states eager to improve their images, and lawless regions where organized crime has discovered tennis as an excellent way to launder money. After AD IN AD OUT no reader will ever watch tennis without realizing how much more there is to the game.
$9.99 | eBook | n/a | 280 pages
More than six years after his retirement at the age of twenty-six, Bjorn Borg has become a black hole looming amid the constellation of current tennis stars. His light has dimmed, but he still exerts an enormous pull, a mysterious force, that alternately troubles and titillates a fascinated public. In effect, his absence from the game has come to be more significant than the presence of most players, and his refusal to say much on his own behalf has resulted in reams of comment from agents, ex-lovers, self-described friends, sports pundits and penny psychologists. Recent events, including a reported suicide attempt, marriage to Loredana Berte—an Italian pop singer with a lurid reputation—and the collapse of the European division of the Bjorn Borg Design Group, have provoked an avalanche of questions. What has happened to the five-time Wimbledon champion. How, in half a dozen short years, has the Great Wheel of Fortune spun him from the pinnacle of fame to the point where in some quarters, he is viewed as burned out and broken down—at best a pathetic husk of his former self; at worst a self-indulgent multi-millionaire hellbent on self-destruction?
Given the extent of the misinformation and the depth of distortion produced by media attention, it is important to point out at the start that in the case of an international celebrity like Bjorn Borg one is often reduced to dealing with a persona as opposed to a person. One is manipulated into analyzing pseudo-events, not an actual life. If there is a tragic dimension to the arc of his career, it may simply be that the huffing and puffing machinery that confected his enormously successful image is now hissing and spitting out its mirror opposite. Because Borg was a splendid tennis player, the world wanted to think he must be a splendid man. Now that he has experienced a few of the problems human flesh is heir to, the world strains to find some deep significance in his shortcomings. In both cases there has been the mistaken assumption that this limited and uninteresting man could serve as an exemplary role model or an object lesson anywhere except on a tennis court.