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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... gravity-defying, championship- hoarding exploits made him, in my book, the
greatest athlete of all time. I'd once heard Jordan say that in his mind, he played
for the one person in the stands who had never seen him before, and how he ...
That always seemed like an ideal to strive for as an athlete, but I had to be honest
with myself: A lot of fans who saw me play in 2003 probably remembered me,
more than anything, as the guy with the crazy hair. I didn't want to be known for ...
Working out can be as monotonous for a professional athlete as it can for
everybody else, but not that December. I wasn't bored for a second. Every
moment was imbued with purpose. I'm a pretty self-contained individual, and for
much of my ...
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