won’t beat about the bush—I live and die by Wimbledon. Every year in
late-June I cancel what I can of my life and watch balls bouncing over
nets for two weeks straight. Returning players are like old friends.
Some scream, some cry, some scuttle around with their chin tucked in
their neck, and some are just down right dull. And just like you do with your closest friends, you recommend them books. Here are some suggestions for this year's top players that will possibly help them keep their eyes on the prize.
I spy David Sedaris’ gut busting short story, "Jesus Shaves," joining Djokovic in his daily ice bath. On a purely superficial level, Djokovic (or Nole, as he is known to his pals and overly familiar ESPN commentators) sports a mean five o’clock shadow and is known as a prankster on the tour. He impersonates other players in press conferences, pulls monkey faces between points, and picks his ass crack in honor of nemesis Rafael Nadal. The whacky translation humor in the Sedaris story would be just the right distraction from him in between sets.
meet long last shadow Hillary Clinton. Both are unfairly ridiculed about their
appearance and have a knack for well-timed professional hiatuses,
only to re-emerge later to eat the competition. And they’re both pretty
popular (especially on Twitter). Serena might have to wait until next Wimbledon for
Clinton’s latest memoir, but until then she’s got the 2003
autobiography, Living History, where she can learn a thing or two about keeping cool under pressure.
Spaniard’s a gentle muscle-head with a mind-boggling array of daily
rituals. Bottles line up in a particular order under his seat, exact
mouthfuls of banana are munched during breaks, and the ball bounces the
right number of times before he serves each point. Nadal would make a perfect potion-maker, a subject at Hogwarts that requires exact measurements, mind-bending precision, and the utmost concentration. We think Nadal would find a kindred spirit in Severus Snape.
Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka
I’ve stuck the girls together because they’re both screamers on the court and would no doubt feel at home in Fifty Shades of Grey’s “red room of pain.” After all, tennis can be quite a punishing sport on the body. Plus in the event they both end up in the final,
the groan-filled rallies accompanying any loose bouncing balls may spark
story ideas for the much-anticipated movie release.
As a Scot, I’m gleeful about Murray’s refusal to smile during any and
all public events, giving photographers his own spin on the term "bitch face." The tennis world thinks he’s consumed in his own
misery, but maybe he’s just read too much Cormac McCarthy. The Road on repeat kills any optimist, and in the midst of all the tournament's flash, a chilling, somber book may be just the right thing to help you get your head in the game.
is the Ernest Hemmingway of tennis: deft, elegant, and economical
on the court and ridiculously multi-lingual off it. He might not win
another Wimbledon, but he’s definitely shaped those who will (and won the fanaticism of David Foster Wallace). He may find inspiration in For Whom the Bell Tolls , which is full of explosions and brutality but told in stark, beautiful language -- a contrast that could be translated into Federer's tennis game.
Radwanska may be in the woman’s draw, but the Pole’s tongue-twisting name and inability to
beat Williams confines her reading material to Shakespeare’s no doubt
impressive, but ultimately forgotten, “lost plays.” She could start with Love’s Labor’s Won, and if she manages to find a manuscript, it will prove that anything is possible -- even winning Wimbledon.
Bob and Mike Bryan
identical American twins chest bump and roar like prehistoric men on
the doubles court. Winning a doubles title is small-fry compared to a
single champion, and I’ve always wondered if they secretly hate lumping
themselves together. Wally Lamb’s, I Know This Much Is True, a story about the “fucked up twin,” might rift these two for good and give them the confidence to finally test their abilities apart from each other.