Wimbledon 2014: excerpts from 5 noteworthy books about tennis

As Wimbledon begins on June 23, check out these excerpts from five insider looks at the game of tennis.

2. 'Bollettieri: Changing the Game,' by Nick Bollettieri


(Nick Bollettieri has made his Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla., an incubator of champions. Among the players whose careers he's helped shape are Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Serena Williams, and Maria Sharapova.)

"Sometimes, because of my many years of experience in tennis, I'm called on to consult and offer advice. In 2012, Stacey Allaster, the head of the WTA [Women's Tennis Association], asked me to come to the headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida ... and share my thoughts in a discussion concerning a matter that has been highly controversial for years – the pervasive grunting and screaming during matches.

My answer was simple and based on what I thought was best for the sport. I never taught it to my female (or male) players, but I defended it because a number of my champions, notably Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, have made it part of their arsenals of weapons on the court. It can disturb, distract and intimidate opponents. In addition, it is now so much a part of their game, that to demand they stop would severely damage their ability to compete.

"If we wanted to get rid of the screaming, my suggestion was to phase it out gradually by starting with 10 or 12 year olds. Have the umpires announce before matches that they will issue a first warning and then start to deduct points. Do it consistently, across the board, and the 'problem' will soon go away."

(The Women's Tennis Association has plans to phase out loud grunting without forcing current stars to change their court habits.)

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