Looking for some great tennis books to read during the summer ⛱️?
I got you! In this blog I'll be sharing 3 of my favorite tennis autobiography books, which truly changed my life for the better.
And if the word autobiography turns your nose up, listen to me: give one of these books a chance, and you'll change your mind! Because hey, the lessons you can learn from someone else's life are absolutely gold, let alone from the best of the best!
Btw, if you're new on this blog... hi, I'm Elena Margaria 👋🏻 and just like you, I'm on a mission to become the best tennis player I can 🥇. Even without a fancy team, or too much talent. Just with a huge desire to make it.
That's why Tennis Rematch exists: to share everything I learn along the way 🤓, so you can get better faster, and together we can prove that we can achieve anything we set our mind to 🔥.
But back to business!
I really hope you'll get inspired to pick up one of these gems 💎! They're truly eye-opening, and I'm sure they'll have a big impact on you as well, not only as a tennis player but as a human being too!
Oh and if you decide to buy one of them through my links, thanks thanks thanks 🙏! You'd help me keep this blog going!
Enjoy your read! And if you do, don't forget to leave me a clap (or two) so I know you did 💕!
#1 - Unstoppable: My Life So Far by Maria Sharapova
Ok, I might be a little biased here 🙆♀️.
Ever since I've picked up a racket and got a bit serious about tennis, Maria's been my greatest inspiration and the tennis player I've always looked up to.
Not really for her game (that had absolutely nothing to do with mine 😅), but for her tenacity. The way she fought on that court, nobody else!
She could be losing like crazy, and yet I'd keep my nose attached to the tv 'till the very end because hey, it's Maria: you never know until it's over! And indeed... so many comebacks, so many matches turned around! She was a guarantee: she would just not give up 💪!
What a role model she was (and is) for me!
I wanted to be so much like her that my parents would call me "Sharapovetta" (which, in Italian, means small Sharapova. And yes, the thought of being a mini-her made me so proud 🤗): not just because I'd wear her same outfits, do her same fist pump and give her same looks. Yes, also! But especially because I'd never give up a point. Never!
💬 How about you? Were you also a huge fan of her (no need to dress like her to be a fan 🙈) or not? Let me know in the comments below, I want to know if we can be friends or not 😜!
But ok, enough praise for my hero. Let's talk about her book now.
Whether you like Maria or not, as long as you consider yourself ambitious (in life, doesn't have to be in tennis), you'll love this book!
And if you're also a fan of her out-of-the-world determination, then you have to read it. Because you'd understand where it comes from.
As she says in the first chapter, Unstoppable is a story about sacrifice, what you have to give up. But also just the story of a girl and her father and their crazy adventure.
And indeed, that's exactly it.
You know, when you think of Maria you think she just had it all (at least, that's what I thought before reading this book 🤷♀️). Tall, powerful, tough, talented... she was born to be a champion!
But no: when you really get to know her story, then you understand how many obstacles even she had to overcome. How much work she had to put in. And how much "normal life" she had to miss out.
Things were not easy for her, just the opposite! But the faith her dad had was just immense. So immense that no obstacle was ever too big for them, for her. And in the end, it paid off enormously.
This book really changed my way of thinking about tennis players who make it. Now I no longer think some players are just luckier 🍀 than others, and that's why they succeed. No, that's not how it works!
✨ Everybody, absolutely everybody, faces challenges and obstacles. Everybody gets knocked down every now and then. And it's up to you to be resourceful enough to find a solution and keep going, no matter what.
Yes, people around you will say it's impossible. They'll think you're crazy, even. But those people are not you and don't know you have what it takes to get where you want to be. Because everything is figureoutable: you just need to want it bad enough 💪.
#2 - Rafa by Rafael Nadal
This book kind of shocked me!
I've always liked Rafa: his hard-working spirit 💦 shows up in everything he does and says, and I like that. It makes him such a genuine and coherent person!
Not only. He always gives his best and never takes anything for granted, never makes excuses. (That's rare!)
And he's humble. OMG if he's humble! I love that 😍. The way he talks about his opponents, no one else! He always has a nice word and incredible respect for each and every one of them. (You know, some players just talk about themselves at the end of the match. Well, not him!)
So yes, I've always admired him for these traits. Nevertheless, I had no clue about his story. Yes, I knew about his uncle being his coach since the very beginning. But that's it.
Well, this book opened me an entire world!
Never would I have imagined how attached he is to his family. And how everything he does, he does it for them!
Don't get me wrong ☝️. My family means the world to me, and I don't know what I'd do without them.
But trust me... the way he grew up (always surrounded by his entire family) and the way every single member played (and still plays) a crucial role in his life and tennis career is mind-blowing 😳.
Really, it's like they're all pieces of the same puzzle 🧩. And everybody is equally responsible for the success of the family! It's... just as it should be!!
This book reminded me of a lesson I learnt firsthand a few years back: that if you want to have a chance of making it, you need to surround yourself with the right people.
It doesn't matter how big of a reputation a certain coach has. If he or she doesn't believe in you, you better find someone else who does or you won't get anywhere (or worse, you'll just pull the plug like I did 🥺).
I know this sounds like an obvious thing, but the reality is that it's not that easy to find someone who is really willing to invest time ⏳ and energy 🔋 on you. The world is full of good coaches, but how many really care about you? How many really care about your success as it was theirs?
In my experience, not many. Yes, lots of them are good at talking and making you believe they do. But facts always speak for themselves and more often than not show a different truth.
💬 How's your experience been so far? Have you found a coach who really wants you to reach your full potential?
(One day I'll tell you a story about my very very first coach. For now, just know that he did crazy stuff 🤯 for me that, if I think of it now, was sooo incredibly above and beyond what anybody would expect from a coach! I feel the luckiest person in the world 🍀 to have had him as my coach and truly wish you to find a coach like him and never ever let him go!)
So yes, I think Nadal's story is proof that even though tennis is an individual sport and in the end you're all alone on the battlefield, without a strong support system in place built on trust there's very little chance to make it.
Moral of the story... ask yourself: "Does my coach believe I can reach my goals?" 🤔, and if the answer is not a Hell yesss, then consider looking for a new one! (Or just do like me: find your biggest supporter, and ask him or her to coach you!)
✨ Tennis doesn't have to be a lonely sport: surround yourself with people who believe in you even when you don't, and not only you'll have more fun on the way (because you'll feel part of a team), but your successes will be sweeter 🍬!
#3 - Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
While I've been growing up watching Sharapova and Nadal play and win, I cannot say the same about Agassi: just when I was starting out with tennis, he retired 😥.
Lucky for me though, my very first coach was a diehard fan of him, so not only I got to hear lots of good stories about Andre when I was a little kid 👧 but I also got my game modeled on his! (Make me return serves and take the ball early the whole practice and I'll be happy for the rest of the day 💃!)
Anyway... the thing is, I didn't know much about his early life. I just knew about his game and his hair, but that's about it!
So when I stumbled upon his book in Torino's airport ✈️, I bought it right away. (Awww, finally I could get to know a bit more about Andre, and maybe find out why my coach found him so so special!)
And judging from how it went (I couldn't put it down the whole flight back to Helsinki 🇫🇮, which is an absolute record as I usually sleep the whole time 💤, right from when I put my butt on the plane's seat straight to the "Welcome to..." greeting!), that last-minute, impulse purchase was one of the best I've ever done!
Agassi's story couldn't be further from mine, so every page I'd read was like walking on the moon for me 🌔.
When I was a teenager, I've always thought I was a bit unlucky to have parents that cared more about school than tennis. I remember wishing they'd understand how much tennis meant to me, how much I wanted to make it my life and how much I was willing to do to make it work ❤️.
But no, they've always seemed to have different plans for me. So I'd look at those kids with parents obsessed with tennis with a tiny bit of jealousy and wonder "why not me?" 😞.
Well, after reading about Agassi's early days, I changed my mind. He was one of those lucky kids, yet it doesn't sound like he had the kind of fun I had imagined being one. On the contrary, for him it was an absolute nightmare!
So you know what? I feel actually quite lucky I got parents who've never even considered tennis as an option, because now that I completed my studies and made them proud I'm free to choose for myself what's best for me and whether I want to pursue a career in tennis or not 💁♀️.
Yes, some may think it's a bit late. But I reallyyyy love playing and competing, and if my willingness to make it has survived all these years, then it may just be meant to be! No?
💬 Btw, how was it for you? Were you one of those lucky kids with parents obsessed about tennis, or were you always the one obsessed?! I'm really curious to read your story!
Oh and another thing that really stood up to me from Andre's story (and is probably one of the biggest lessons for all of us tennis players) is how much stronger his hunger for wins became once he found his deeper purpose: helping children fulfill their potential and achieve their dreams through education 📚.
I think it's incredible what he's done since he started his foundation, and just makes it crystal-clear how crucial it is to play for something bigger than yourself!
✨ So yes: play for bigger, better reasons than just for yourself. Always.
And voilà, there you have it: the list of tennis books that changed my life for the better!
Have you read any of them yet? Which one? Did you like it as much as I did?! Let me know in the comments below, I can't wait to discuss with you! Who knows, maybe same book, different lessons 😉!
And if you haven't yet read any of them, tell me: which one are you gonna read next? I'm so curious! (Whichever you chose, I'm sure you'll like it 😊. They're all sooooo good!! Even though I have a favorite 🤫: Open by Andre Agassi. Would you have guessed?!)
I'll see you in the comments, can't wait to read you 💕!
And don't forget to leave me a clap or two if you enjoyed this blog. You'd make me super happy 🥰!
Ciaooo, to the next blog 🤗!
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