Courting Fame: The Perilous Road to Women's Tennis Stardom

Karen Stabiner, Author
Karen Stabiner, Author HarperCollins Publishers $16.45 (254p) ISBN 978-0-06-015527-8
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Debbie Spence, 16, was ranked first in the nation among female tennis players age 18 and under for the year 1983. This fast-moving yet sobering story chronicles her life for the next two years, and shows the requirements for success in a game where the competition is brutal and the stakes run into millions of dollars. Almost without exception, tennis prodigies are pushed into the game by ambitious parents, according to the author; the girls who are winners are those who become monomaniacs about their careers. That they must eschew normal lives is a given, and the more victories they score, the more they are catered to and fawned over. That Debbie is not unique is suggested by the parallel stories of some of her opponents, especially Shawn Foltz and Melissa Gurney. The lesson that early maturation of women who have risen to the top at age 14 or 15 is no blessing is underscored on every page. Photos. First serial to New York Times Magazine. (March 19)
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