|On July 6, 2008, two compelling athletes met on Wimbledon's Centre Court in the men's final and served up a seminal even in tennis. Roger Federer was on track to take his rightful place as the most dominant player in the history of the game. The Wimbledon champ for five years running, Federer needed only to sustain his trajectory. But in the fading daylight it was his rival, the swashbuckling Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who met the moment. Their captivating match was, according to the author, "essentially a four hour forty eight minute infomercial for everything that is right about tennis - a festival of skill, accuracy, grave, strength, speed, endurance, determination, and sportsmanship." It was also the encapsulation of a fascinating and textured rivalry, hard fought and of historic proportions. |
In the tradition of John McPhee's Levels of the Game, Strokes of Genius deconstructs this defining event, using it was the backbone of a provocative, entertaining look at the art, psychology, technology, strategy, and personality that go into a single tennis match. With vivid, intimate detail, Wertheim re-creates this epic battle in a book that is both a study of the mechanics and art of the game and a portrait of a rivalry as dramatic as that of Ali-Frazier, Palmer-Nicklaus, and McEnroe-Borg.