USTWA Announces Book Contest Winners

August 19, 2010

In its first book contest, the United States Tennis Writers’ Association awarded First Prize to OPEN: An Autobiography. The USTWA Book Contest recognizes and honors the best tennis books published in 2009.

OPEN was written by charismatic Andre Agassi, winner of eight Grand Slam tournaments, assisted by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer J.R. Moehringer. OPEN, which ranked No. 1 on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, was published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Publishers Weekly gave OPEN a starred review: “This lively, revealing and entertaining book is certain to roil the tennis world and make a big splash beyond.” In the Washington Post, Michael Mewshaw wrote: “OPEN” is “extraordinary,” a book that “vividly recounts a lost childhood, a Dickensian adolescence and a chaotic struggle in adulthood to establish an identity that doesn’t depend on alcohol, drugs or the machinations of PR.” Kirkus Reviews wrote: “An ace of a tale … the enigmatic tennis great lays it all on the line.”

A Terrible Splendor: Three Extraordinary Men, A World Poised for War, and the Greatest Tennis Match Ever Played received Second Prize. Written by Marshall Jon Fisher, A Terrible Splendor chronicles the famous 1937 Davis Cup duel between American champion Don Budge and popular, dashing German Baron Gottfried von Cramm played out against a dramatic backdrop of menacing Nazism, veiled sexuality and spiraling global tension. A Terrible Splendor was published by The Crown Publishing Group.

Bud Collins, correspondent for the Boston Globe and commentator for ESPN and Tennis Channel, wrote: “A literary masterpiece. Blending their lives with the darkening times, Fisher illuminates bygone cultures in a fascinating tale of a July afternoon in London.” Frank Deford, senior contributing writer, Sports Illustrated, said: “This is sport history at its finest and most thorough.”

Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal and the Greatest Match Ever Played received Third Prize. Strokes of Genius, written by L. Jon Wertheim, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and one of America’s best tennis writers, provides a riveting and provocative account of the Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal rivalry through the prism of their epic 2008 Wimbledon final.

Booklist gave Strokes of Genius a starred review, writing: “Compelling … Hardcore tennis fans will revel in Wertheim’s expertise and his proximity to the players and their event; others can’t help but be attracted to a vision of two champions and a rivalry in their prime.” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published Strokes of Genius.

Bud Collins, the dean of American tennis writers and a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and Michael Mewshaw, a multi-award-winning author of 19 books, including the critically acclaimed Short Circuit, served as judges for the Book Contest.

The winners of the USTWA Book Contest will receive their awards in a ceremony during the second week of the U.S. Open.