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Introduction

Roger Federer interview
( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2009 )


Quotes are great fun. They amuse, shock, inform, enrage, enlighten and inspire. The most compelling quotes provoke thought and debate and can even incite us to take action.

My favorite is, "Be not ashamed to say what you are not ashamed to think." Tennis players heed Montague's advice more than athletes in other sports. Tennis pros speak out freely because as free agents they don't worry about antagonizing teammates, coaches, or owners. They vent emotions and voice opinions on the court and in press conferences afterward, when the heat of battle has barely cooled.

In individual sports, such as tennis, we follow our heroes more closely and root for them more passionately. When Serena, Andre, Jennifer, Martina, Anna, Marat and others bare their souls, they make an emotional connection with their legions of fans that adds immensely to the entertainment they create in competition.

Quotes from Tennis Pros

You Can Quote Me on That captures the power and range of tennis quotes past and present in thirty-five chapters that contain almost 1,700 quotes - far surpassing any previous tennis quotes collection.

For a good chuckle, go directly to "Did They Really Say That?" You'll find Agassi quip, "Sex doesn't interfere with your tennis. It's staying out all night trying to find it that affects your tennis." And Ilie Nastase, when asked why he didn't report the loss of his credit card, replied: "Whoever stole it is spending less than my wife."

In "True Confessions," Steffi Graf confides: "I never wished to live this life. I just wanted to play tennis, not become a public person. That is why I can be quite bitchy toward people." You'll be shocked by admissions, such as stoical superstar Bjorn Borg's: "I was never that cold inside. It was always an act-an act I came to perfect-but an act just the same."

Zingers abound in our fiercely competitive international sport. Check out "Nothing Personal." There Anna Kournikova rants, "I'm not Venus Williams. I'm not Serena Williams. I'm feminine. I'm not masculine like they are." And master-blaster John McEnroe skewers archrival Jimmy Connors: "He's a bit anal, he thinks the whole world is against him and that everyone is screwing him on some level. He's always been like that and he always will be." Rest assured, Johnny Mac takes plenty of deliciously wicked hits, too.

Those seeking advice and inspiration will find it in "Stuff of Champions." I'm especially moved by whiz-kid-turned-burnout-case-turned-champion Jennifer Capriati: "There is always a light at the end of the tunnel . you are in control of everything. Just believe in yourself. You make or break yourself."

What You'll Find Inside

Chapters on styles and strategies, doubles, race and gender issues, rackets and Open Tennis offer provocative viewpoints that may make you reconsider your own. For example, legendary Australian coach Harry Hopman controversially contended: "There are no hard and fast rules for learning to play tennis or for developing your game, and there is no one style which could be laid down as the 'correct' way to play."

Who was tennis' first non-stop serve-and-volley champion--Jack Kramer, Joe Hunt, Maurice McLoughlin, or even "The Wizard," Norman Brookes, early in the twentieth century? Hint: It was an American star in the late 1880s and early 1890s. You Can Quote Me on That can settle that and other arguments, too.

Some quotes are less known but eloquent or powerful. I bet you don't know who said this about Wimbledon: "This is hallowed ground, the field of dreams for tennis players. It's great. It's legendary." Or who uttered this about the men's ranking system: "You can be dead and still be No. 1." Or who predicted, "Women's tennis won't draw flies." Bet you'll be surprised to find out who said that.

You Can Quote Me on That taps into universal themes, such as love, God, country and the meaning of life, or at least life on the tour. The context for most quotes is given, and their sources and years are cited when they could be discovered.

The Book for Tennis Fans

This book is for the casual fan, the tennis fanatic, the quotes lover, the raconteur, the journalist, the historian, and the merely curious. It contains (almost) everything you ever wanted to know about who said what about who and what in the fascinating, ever-changing world of tennis.

I hope you enjoy You Can Quote Me on That. I've told you some of my favorite quotes. Feel free to e-mail me and tell me yours.




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