Tennis My Way

Tennis My Way - Martina Navratilova, Mary Carillo

"I never used to concentrate on concentrating. The way I had it figured was that whenever I really needed to settle down and focus in for the match, all I had to do was turn it on. It was not long after this cherished belief was shattered that I learned the ugly truth about the Easter Bunny being a phony."


Tennis My Way was published in 1983. A lot of things have changed in the tennis world since then and you might expect that the book and the advice given is dated, but you would be surprised. Martina covers the basics, the fundamentals, the essentials, and reading the book I found I - quite naturally - compared her advice to the instructions I have been given over the years by various coaches and fellow players. (For the record, I only play recreationally, and not very well at that. I just like the sport.) Anyway, the advice pretty much still amounts to the same. So, reading this relatively short volume now, just over thirty years after it was written, was as informative as reading any current book. Of course, I'd rather read this one anyway simply because it was written by someone who has been somewhat of an inspiration.


Aside from explanations of how to train, how to prepare for matches, the psychology of play, and how holding the racket in different ways will impact on your shot (all with pictures), I also loved the personal asides that reveal some of her own story.

As mentioned, I have been a fan for many years. Not just of watching her play but also of her no-nonsense approach to, well, just about anything. 


"Choosing the proper frame is a highly individualistic business, one that requires a bit of experimentation. With so much to choose from these days in terms of racket size, weight, material, and balance, it becomes a question of what you alone find yourself most comfortable with. There seems to be too much emphasis placed on the brand names of rackets, and certainly on the prices. Do not buy a racket solely for status. A three- or four-hundred-dollar racket may not do a thing  for your game, but a forty-dollar racket may bring out your best tennis. If the racket you use gives you a sense of confidence, chances are it is just fine."


I think pricing of rackets may have changed since 1983, but the point remains the same.