• ISBN 9781846689109
  • 01/05/2014
  • 352p
  • Hardback
  • Buy this book now
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Love Game

A History of Tennis, from Victorian Pastime to Global Phenomenon

The only comprehensive narrative history of the world's most international sport, from Victorian lawn tennis to Andy Murray's Wimbledon 2013 triumph.

Tennis's gladiatorial beauty, its stylish duelling and fashionable court-wear make it a romantic's dream. Ever since young men and women first came together to play on vicarage lawns, this most Victorian of games has always had a peculiarly passionate undercurrent - love even makes it into the scoring system. And passion in other forms - the rivalry of Federer and Nadal, and John McEnroe's legendary angry outbursts.Beyond the romance, tennis has always been a barometer of the times. French star Suzanne Lenglen was a celebrity trailblazer, Jimmy Connors channelled punk, and Henman Hill is unrecognisable from the days when the All England Club ostracised working-class Fred Perry - and the great English tennischampion who is now more famous as a leisure clothing brand than a sportsman.Love Gameis the must-have companion for tennis fans during Wimbledon 2014. It tells the story of tennis'journey from upper-middle-class hobby to global TV spectacle, taking in the innovators and trendsetters, the great players, heroes and iconoclasts, and the politics, class wars and culture clashes of what could rightfully be called the'beautiful game'.

About the Author

An independent researcher and writer best known for her commentaries on feminism and popular culture, Elizabeth Wilson is currently Visiting Professor at the London College of Fashion. She is the author of several non-fiction books, and her novelsThe Twilight Hour(9781852424770),War Damage(9781846686504) andThe Girl in Berlin(9781846688270) are also published by Serpent's Tail.


'Excellent ... Wilson makes a passionate, partisan case that tennis should be treated differently from all other sports. In fact tennis shouldn't be treated like a sport at all, but should instead be seen as a kind of burlesque gymnastic seduction, a business of passion and, above all, of love. Tennis, Wilson argues, has been tarnished by being lumped in with more mainstream sports, with their linear scoring systems, their slavishly enacted win-lose-draw dynamic. It should instead be kept apart from the world in its own tennis-shaped love-box, allowed to bloom and bud as it wishes, a thing of beauty to be stroked and cosseted and made much of.', Barney Ronay, Guardian

'Hers is a sporting history unlike any I've read - one that, in its sophistication and thoughtfulness, shows up the hollowness of most other accounts.', William Skidelsky, Observer

'A love-all letter to the beautiful, sweaty, glorious, grunting game', Saga

'A richly textured history distilled through an illuminating private passion', Literary Review

'A fascinating and passionate history', Ben East, Metro

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