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.
Results 6-10 of 10
While this was a source of great frustration during the fall of 2003, my lone
tournament win wasn't the only thing that was haunting me. Constantly, I found
myself revisiting two encouraging losses going all the way back to 2001. One
That match was indicative of how things went for me in 2003; to put it simply, my
mind, my character, was not in the right place to win matches. In tennis,
especially men's tennis, holding serve is paramount. The serve is the shot over
which a ...
One of the most suicidal things you can do in tennis is to believe your ranking.
You don't win matches because you're number whatever; you get to your number
whatever by winning matches. Going into 2003, I knew this rationally, but I didn't ...
I'd try to do something spectacular to turn things around, and almost inevitably
ended up making things worse. But despite the speculation to the contrary, I was
always trying, and that people doubted my heart left a bad taste in my mouth.
While Brian was right there with me on my desire to take things to the next level,
he shrugged off my thoughts about shaving my head—I think he believed that I
was just messing around and wasn't really serious about such a drastic image ...
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