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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The last set was as much of a blur as my win over Agassi, only it wasn't all my
winners I couldn't remember; it was all my unforced errors and squandered
opportunities that came together into a highlight reel from 19 THE STATEMENT.
To many observers, this was evidence that I had a tendency to give up on a
match that wasn't going my way, an appraisal that annoyed me because, if
anything, I wanted to win too much. I always had a feeling, deep down, 20
Personally, I wasn't afraid of slipping into oblivion. Like most people, I happen to
come from oblivion, and I was always pretty happy there, so the thought of going
back didn't bother me too much. No, my personal abyss wasn't the prospect of ...
(It also happened that my mother worked part-time at the desk.) Each morning,
upon arrival, I couldn't wait to start. I did everything with heightened intensity—
serves, ground strokes, whatever. I wasn't just hitting the ball; I was hacking away
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 life, I've followed my father's
example of not burdening others with my problems. I don't do a lot of “sharing”