The Circuit: A Tennis Odyssey

Rowan Ricardo Phillips. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-0-374-12377-2
Poet and tennis fan Phillips (Heaven) serves an exciting account of the 2017 men’s tennis season, detailing the games, sets, and matches as he follows the players from the Australian Open in January to the U.S. Open in August and September. At center court stand Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who by the end of the season are ranked #1 and #2 in the world, respectively. Phillips then introduces a cast of challengers, including Andy Murray, who started the year ranked #1 with his “lighting quick two-handed backhand,” though his promise early in the season was cut short by injuries. David Goffin, whom Nadal finishes off in straight sets in Monte Carlo on a clay court, is a technician with an attractive game whose backhand, “even when he makes an error with it,” is perfect, according to Phillips. By the time the U.S. Open rolls around, Federer has moved up in the rankings from #17 to #3, leaving tennis fans eagerly anticipating a possible finals match between him and top-ranked Nadal, his longtime rival. Phillips energetically illustrates the fascination “to watch someone lose something that no one among the thousands or millions could see but all could feel” and the tactics players use. Phillips’s enthusiastic recollection of the 2017 season will enthrall tennis fans. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/13/2018
Release date: 11/20/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-250-23492-6
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