Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life
Harper Collins, 2009 M03 17 - 288 pages
James Blake's life was getting better every day. A rising tennis star and People magazine's Sexiest Male Athlete of 2002, he was leading a charmed life and loving every minute of it. But all that ended in May 2004, when Blake fractured his neck in an on-court freak accident. As he recovered, his father—who had been the inspiration for his tennis career—lost his battle with stomach cancer. Shortly after his father's death, Blake was dealt a third blow when he contracted zoster, a rare virus that paralyzed half of his face and threatened to end his already jeopardized career.
In Breaking Back, Blake provides a remarkable account of how he came back from this terrible heartbreak and self-doubt to become one of the top tennis players in the world. A story of strength, passion, courage, and the unbreakable bonds between a father and son, Breaking Back is a celebration of one extraordinary athlete's indomitable spirit and his inspiring ability to find hope in the bleakest of times.
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Instead, I thought about my semifinal match, in which I found myself standing on a
Saturday night across the net from one of my mentors, Andre Agassi, who was
well into his legendary comeback and ranked number six in the world.
... with my body and anxiously aware of the butterflies that were inhabiting my
entire stomach. Somehow, I pulled myself together, and before long, I was in the
midst of one of those nights that athletes dream of, when everything just clicked
Your first tournament victory is a milestone, a sign that you've arrived, that you're
capable of being the last one standing come Sunday night. Once you've notched
that first big win, who knows how many more might follow? As it turned out, ...
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
She returned to the States right away, and when I finally reached her on the
phone it was the middle of the night. I could tell right away that something was
terribly wrong because, although she did her best to hide it, she was clearly in an