Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal and the Greatest Match Ever Played, by L. Jon Werthein, was my reading matter of choice while at the tennis tournament. It’s broken into the Introduction, Centre Court, and a chapter for each of the 5 sets that were played in the Wimbledon final on July 6, 2008. I bought one for me and one for my friend Diane when it was published in May – and saved mine for the hotel, after long days of watching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and all the other terrific players.
Didn’t finish it while out there, though. Only got through the first 2-1/2 sets at the tournament, and just savored the last chapters a few days ago.
Jon is such an excellent writer – I even read him when he writes about other sports and other topics. The layout of the book is itself fascinating. He manages to weave in each players’ history and background, record and experiences to date, the history of Wimbledon, the records of other stellar players over the last hundred + years, the background and history of the sport itself, the ambiance of Centre Court. Jon creates the world of professional tennis in such a way that it lives and breathes for the reader.
He himself clearly loves tennis, and makes it accessible to us. He also clearly loves, understands and has empathy for Roger and Rafa, while still seeing them with his clear eye.
If you need a gift for someone who even remotely connects with tennis – this is it!