For a book that was first published over 15 years ago, Venus Envy still feels remarkably current. It’s fitting testament to the ‘new wave’ of women tennis players featured in this book that so many of them are still going strong and continue to dominate headlines.
L Jon Wertheim shows how new attitudes to the women’s game changed both the way tennis was played and the type of women who played it. Athletic, relentlessly dedicated and with an ever-increasing sense of self worth, these are the players who brought women’s tennis from being almost an afterthought to becoming more popular, more exciting and possibly more lucrative than the men’s game.
The book’s subtitle is “A Sensational Season Inside the Women’s Tour” and Wertheim shares plenty of locker-room gossip alongside his stroke-by-stroke retelling of outstanding or epoch-making matches. Martina Hingis, still winning Grand Slams in 2015 (albeit in Doubles), comes across as a particularly live wire. Someone you’d love to share a cocktail or two with but hate to make an enemy of.
I’d also forgotten just how much Grade A crazy Richard Williams brought to the Player’s Box, not to mention how despite this, he actually ranks fairly low in that hotly contested class of WTA’s Worst Tennis Dad.
Now someone just needs to write an updated sequel …
Tennis: 10/10 (lots of shot-by-shot description)