Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life
Harper Collins, 2007 M07 5 - 288 pages
In 2004, James Blake's life was getting more perfect by the day. A rising tennis star, with each passing year his game seemed to improve. In 2002, he was named Sexiest Male Athlete by People, and along the way he continued to gain in the rankings and earn respect on the court. Each day seemed to offer a new milestone, a new achievement; he was leading a charmed life and loving every minute of the ride.
But that life came to an abrupt halt in May 2004 when Blake broke his back in a freak accident on the court. A few months later, as Blake was recovering from his injury, he suffered another tremendous setback when his father–the man who had raised him and provided the inspiration for his tennis career–lost his battle with stomach cancer. Shortly after his father's death, Blake's situation was further complicated when he contracted Zoster, a rare virus that paralyzed half of his face and threatened to end his already jeopardized tennis career.
Breaking Back tells the story of the tumultous year that followed these three devastating events, detailing how Blake persevered through hardship to become one of the best tennis players in the world. Here Blake explains how the wisdom and words that his father imparted to him over the years gave him the ability to succeed in the face of these seemingly insurmountable odds. Though these trials proved the most difficult of his life, ultimately this trifecta of tragedy became the culmination of all his father's lessons, showing Blake that even in death, his father was still teaching him how to be a man.
In the spirit of Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike and Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking comes this remarkable tale of strength and determination from one of tennis's biggest stars. A story of passion, willpower, and the unbreakable bonds between a father and a son, Breaking Back is one athlete's account of finding hope in the bleakest of times.
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On this Tuesday—just like every other day when zoster ravaged my body—I didn'
t want them to worry, and I didn't want to let those negative thoughts into the
carefree air of the night, so I steadied myself on the table and walked to the
I thought often of the one tournament I had won at that point, the Legg Mason
Tennis Classic in Washington, DC, just over a year earlier, in August 2002, but I
didn't focus on the final. Instead, I thought about my semifinal match, in which I
Rather, I had disappointments that stuck in my throat, that I thought about at night
just as much as I lingered on those positive memories from '01 and '02. I saw
myself, for example, on the court at Indian Wells, California, in March 2003, losing
... when I had learned it, over and over, the hard way. I had begun to develop a
reputation: a lot of fans, sports- casters, and journalists thought I had talent, but
the prevailing feeling was that I didn't want to win badly enough. People opined
In the end, it really didn't matter what I thought or felt. My situation was what it was
. I was at the end of 2003 without a second title, a ranking that was moving in the
wrong direction, and enough regrets to last a lifetime. That year, as I flew home ...
What people are saying - Write a review
Well WrittenUser Review - sugarhill203 - Overstock.com
I found the book interesting and easy to read due to the content and good writting. Being a tennis fan I found the book to show the reasons the commentators use very positive words describing James Blake. James his mother and brother are always shown respect when referring to them. Read full review
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