Saturday, July 28, 2007


I subscribe to the NY Times online, but as of late, I've been much too busy to read them. While deleting some of the clutter in the mail box, I stop and read over some of the article titles in the Times Sunday Book Review, dated July 22, 2007. I noticed a review on a book entitled, CHARGING THE NET: A History of Blacks in Tennis from Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe to the Williams Sisters.

The book, which is edited by Cecil Harris and Larryette Kyle-DeBose, consists of 65 interviews and presents an indepth look into the lives of Black tennis stars.

A couple of the quotes in the article, written by Toure, jumped out at me.

Leslie Allen, who participated in the sport in the 80's said the following: "I'd go to a tournament where the family wanted to house the No. 1 seed. But when that family found out that the No. 1 seed was me, then suddenly the housing disappeared."

The editors (Harris and Kyle-DeBose) made the following observations: "The unspoken but persistent vibe that you are not welcome, that others would be happier if you went away, a vibe that black tennis players have sensed on the main tour for decades, makes it difficult to find the rhythm and comfort zone needed to perform at your best."

I'm not a major follower of tennis, but this book sounds like one I'd enjoy reading. I was surprised by some of the details the article shared, particularly, as far as some of the personal difficulties faced by so many of the better known tennis stars. Also,I'm intrigued by the thought that so many African Americans, whose names I've never heard, not only played, but excelled in the sport (smile).

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