Late to the Ball: A Journey into Tennis and Aging

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An award-winning author attempts to become a nationally competitive tennis player—at the age of sixty—in this “soulful meditation on aging, companionship, and the power of self-improvement” (The Wall Street Journal).

Being a man or a woman in your early sixties is different than it was a generation or two ago, at least for the more fortunate of us. We aren’t old…yet. But we sense it coming: Careers are winding down, kids are gone, parents are dying (friends, too), and our bodies are no longer youthful or even middle-aged. Learning to play tennis in your fifties is no small feat, but becoming a serious, competitive tennis player at the age of sixty is a whole other matter. It requires training the body to defy age, and to methodically build one’s game—the strokework, footwork, strategy, and mental toughness.

Gerry Mazorati had the strong desire to lead an examined physical life, to push his body into the “encore” of middle age. In Late to the Ball Mazorati writes vividly about his difficulties, frustrations, and triumphs of becoming a seriously good tennis player. He takes on his quest with complete vigor and absolute determination to see it through, providing a rich, vicarious experience, involving the science of aging, his existential battle with time, and the beautiful, mysterious game of tennis. “Enjoyable…crisp and clean” (Publishers Weekly), Late to the Ball is also captivating evidence that the rest of the Baby Boomer generation, now between middle age and old age, can find their own quest and do the same.
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About the author

Gerald Marzorati was the editor of The New York Times Magazine from 2003 until 2010. He previously worked as an editor at Harper’s magazine and The New Yorker. He is the author of Late to the Ball and A Painter of Darkness, which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for a first book of nonfiction. His writing about tennis has appeared in The New York Times and on NewYorker.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
May 17, 2016
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781476737430
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Self-Help / Personal Growth / General
Sports & Recreation / Tennis
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Pete Sampras is arguably the greatest tennis player ever, a man whose hard-nosed work ethic led to an unprecedented number one world ranking for 286 weeks, and whose prodigious talent made possible a record-setting fourteen Grand Slam titles. While his more vocal rivals sometimes grabbed the headlines, Pete always preferred to let his racket do the talking.

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Here for the first time Pete speaks freely about what it was like to possess what he calls “the Gift.” He writes about the personal trials he faced—including the death of a longtime coach and confidant—and the struggles he gutted his way through while being seemingly on top of the world. Among the book’s most riveting scenes are an early devastating loss to Stefan Edberg that led Pete to make a monastic commitment to delivering on his natural talent; a grueling, four-hour-plus match against Alex Corretja during which Pete became seriously ill; fierce on-court battles with rival and friend Andre Agassi; and the triumphant last match of Pete’s career at the finals of the 2002 U.S. Open.

In A Champion’s Mind, one of the most revered, successful, and intensely private players in the history of tennis offers an intimate look at the life of an elite athlete.

What makes a champion? What does it take to be the best in the world at your sport?

Rafael Nadal has the answers. In his memoir, written with award-winning journalist John Carlin, he reveals the secrets of his game and shares the inspiring personal story behind his success.

It begins in Mallorca, where the tight-knit Nadal family has lived for generations. Coached by his uncle Toni from the age of four and taught humility and respect by his parents, Nadal has managed the uncommon feat of becoming an acclaimed global celebrity while remaining a gracious, hardworking role model for people in all walks of life.

Now he takes us behind the scenes, from winning the Wimbledon 2008 final-described by John McEnroe as "the greatest game of tennis" he had ever seen-to the family problems that brought him low in 2009 and the numerous injuries that have threatened his career.

With candor and intelligence, Nadal brings readers on his dramatic and triumphant journey, never losing sight of the prize he values above all others: the unity and love of his family.

From RAFA:

"During a match, you are in a permanent battle to fight back your everyday vulnerabilities, bottle up your human feelings. The more bottled up they are, the greater your chances of winning, so long as you've trained as hard as you play and the gap in talent is not too wide between you and your rival. The gap in talent with Federer existed, but it was not impossibly wide. It was narrow enough, even on his favorite surface in the tournament he played best, for me to know that if I silenced the doubts and fears, and exaggerated hopes, inside my head better than he did, I could beat him. You have to cage yourself in protective armor, turn yourself into a bloodless warrior. It's a kind of self-hypnosis, a game you play, with deadly seriousness, to disguise your own weaknesses from yourself, as well as from your rival."
From Maria Sharapova, one of our fiercest female athletes, the captivating—and candid—story of her rise from nowhere to tennis stardom, and the unending fight to stay on top.

In 2004, in a stunning upset against the two-time defending champion Serena Williams, seventeen-year-old Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon, becoming an overnight sensation. Out of virtual anonymity, she launched herself onto the international stage. “Maria Mania” was born. Sharapova became a name and face recognizable worldwide. Her success would last: she went on to hold the number-one WTA ranking multiple times, to win four more Grand Slam tournaments, and to become one of the highest-grossing female athletes in the world.

And then—at perhaps the peak of her career—Sharapova came up against the toughest challenge yet: during the 2016 Australian Open, she was charged by the ITF with taking the banned substance meldonium, only recently added to the ITF’s list. The resulting suspension would keep her off the professional courts for fifteen months—a frighteningly long time for any athlete. The media suggested it might be fateful.

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Here, for the first time, is the whole story, and in her own words. Sharapova’s is an unforgettable saga of dedication and fortune. She brings us inside her pivotal matches and illuminates the relationships that have shaped her—with coaches, best friends, boyfriends, and Yuri, her coach, manager, father, and most dedicated fan, describing with honesty and affection their oft-scrutinized relationship. She writes frankly about the suspension. As Sharapova returns to the professional circuit, one thing is clear: the ambition to win that drove her from the public courts of Russia to the manicured lawns of Wimbledon has not diminished.

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