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Ladies of the Court by Michael Mewshaw

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The stars of the women's tennis tour are the richest, most famous, and most conspicuous female athletes in the world, and yet the public's perception of them is often limited to the little that can be gleaned from press conferences and photo opportunities. Eager to get beyond the cosmetic image, Mewshaw followed the circuit from Rome to Paris, London, New York, and points in between. Along the way he met teenage millionaires such as Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, and Mary Joe Fernandez. Then he talked to their opponents, obscure girls struggling to stay on the tour and continuing to pursue a dream. He spoke with adolescents, anxious about their emerging sexuality, and veterans trying to balance love affairs, marriages, and motherhood with the demands of a tennis career. He had bristly encounters with ferociously ambitious fathers who live through, and off of, their daughters. From sociologists and sports psychiatrists, he learns about teenagers sexually abused by middle-age men, coaches who consider sex just another perk of the job, and the groupies, gofers, and hangers-on who have their own troubling agendas. An acclaimed novelist, Mewshaw captures the essence of the complex characters. A celebrated sportswriter, he analyzes matches, discusses strategy, and describes practice sessions and conditioning programs. He interviews the most renowned coaches, trainers, and sports agents.

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