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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With a tour- nament victory and many great matches under his belt (not to
mention being named People's Sexiest Male Athlete in 2002), each day seemed
to offer a new milestone, a new achievement; he was leading a charmed life and
—WILL ROGERS For professional tennis players, December is an annual abyss.
The year's competition is done, and everyone on the Association of Tennis
Professionals (ATP) tour scatters around the planet to relax for the only month of
The ATP tour is like a kind of traveling neverland, where no one forces you to
grow up. So a lot of the guys are indistinguishable from overgrown adolescents—
when not hitting tennis balls, or the gym, we spend our time hanging out, playing
But when you stack it up against most other “jobs,” life out on the tour is basically
a dream, in more ways than one. It's a dream come true, because most of us grew
up idolizing professional athletes and can hardly believe we've become one ...
There was always the assumption that I would return to Harvard (I actually
promised my mother that I would), or at least that my return was as likely as my
remaining on the pro tour indefinitely. And so, for the first few years, it was
enough that I ...
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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