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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Tennis One-The Refreshing Mr. Roddick

TennisOne - The Refreshing Mr. Roddick

I'm taking a break from junior tennis today to link to Joel Drucker's recent salute to Andy Roddick. I also want to recommend Jimmy Connors Saved My Life-A Personal Biography, Drucker's courageous and beautifully written memoir, published last fall.

I had never met Joel Drucker, though I've since learned we were both working at the U.S. Open last year. But after reading his book, I contacted him through his publisher, and received an immediate email from him, and shortly thereafter had a fascinating telephone conversation with him about Connors, Kalamazoo, mental illness, Donald Young, Wimbledon, writing and a host of other topics. I'm very grateful for his advice, his encouragement and especially for his interest in junior tennis. Believe me, that interest is rare in the tennis journalists' club, and this dismissive attitude, while I try not to take it personally, baffles me.

JCSML is very honest, yet it never descends into gossip or exhibitionism. Although I have never shared Drucker's infatuation with Connors, his description of how it inspired him to pursue his own dream is compelling. Anyone who cares about the sport of tennis, Jimmy Connors fan or no, should read this. We may not have gotten the official biography of Connors that Drucker had hoped to write, but we got something better--the story of how a world-class tennis journalist learned about himself and the game, then used that knowledge to enhance the sport for all of us.