Racquet: The Book
Racquet was founded in 2016 to be the voice of a new tennis boom. When the popularity of tennis peaked in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the sport was populated by buccaneering talents with outsize personas, such as Borg, Evert, McEnroe, Navratilova, Gerulaitis, Austin, King, and Connors. The game was played in every park, and tennis clothes became appropriate attire for cocktails as well as for a match. With success, however, came polish, and tennis—if not the game itself, then how it came to be represented in the culture—got boring. Having a big personality was no longer a virtue. Tennis went back to being a bastion of the elite.
Racquet is a place for those who knew all along that the spirit of the tennis boom was alive. Tennis has always been present in the arts, in the popular culture, in the skateboarding, hip-hop, and fashion worlds. That side of tennis was—and is—obscured by the tightly controlled messaging of the athletes, the corporate glean of the major tournaments, and the all-white attire of the country-club scene. Racquet was launched to represent the latent, diverse, and large constituency of tennis that has not been embraced by the sport writ large.Featuring the work of some of today’s finest writers, the quarterly independent magazine highlights the art, culture, and style that are adjacent to the sport—and just enough of the pro game to keep the diehards satisfied. This collection features some of the best writing from the first four years of Racquet and tackles such immediate topics as: How should tennis smell? What’s the deal with Andre Agassi’s private jet? What can a professional tennis player learn from Philip Roth? Why is tennis important in Lolita? How was Arthur Ashe like Muhammad Ali? And, crucially, what lessons have we learned from the implosion of that first tennis boom?
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