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.
He was holding up astoundingly well and we all wanted to enjoy the time as
normally as possible, though in the back of our collective mind we knew it could
be our last holiday together, before the unit would become forever incomplete.
... something that, even with his ever-expanding vocabulary, I knew he would find
too beautiful for words. Not long before I came home for Christmas, I was in
Europe at the indoor tournaments that dominate the last months of the tennis
This would be a big decision for any twenty-three-yearold, but in my case it was
especially significant because a lot of fans knew me for my hair. I was a very
recognizable presence on the ATP tour—not just because I was one of the very
I knew that my appearance, as much as my tennis, was what sold the agency on
me in the first place, and my hair was a big part of that equation. Although Carlos
had seen me play, it was, I've been told, a USAToday sports section cover story ...