The best tennis books 📚

Browse the best books on tennis as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played

Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played

By L. Jon Wertheim

Why this book?

There is definitely porn in this book, except it’s tennis porn. How could it not, when we are talking about two of the greatest players to ever play the game? Although lately Novak Djokovic has entered the conversation for a good part of the last two decades, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were men’s tennis, and the pinnacle of their rivalry was Wimbledon in 2008, the specific tournament and the specific final that Jon writes about in this book. A classic match deserves a classic retelling, and this work of nonfiction does so much more by threading the many changes…

From the list:

The best books about tennis that may or may not feature pornography

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Book cover of String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis: A Library of America Special Publication

String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis: A Library of America Special Publication

By David Foster Wallace

Why this book?

If there’s a writer who could have written about tennis and pornography and made it work way better than yours truly, it is David Foster Wallace. But David did not waste his time on this planet (suicide in his 46th year) on idle silliness – no, he wrote essays like “Federer as a Religious Experience” for The New York Times, which is the fifth and final essay in his collection of his tennis nonfiction. Ranked nationally as a junior, David possessed intimate knowledge of the sport, and the first essay, “Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley,” indeed features a…

From the list:

The best books about tennis that may or may not feature pornography

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Court on Canvas: Tennis in Art

Court on Canvas: Tennis in Art

By Ann Sumner

Why this book?

This beautiful book is the catalogue of an art exhibition devoted to paintings and photographs that capture the world of tennis, demonstrating the close link between art and the sport. Indeed, many enthusiasts see tennis as an art in its own right and this book should convince any waverers. The gorgeous coloured and black and white illustrations range from late Victorian genre scenes of tennis as a social event including champagne, strawberries, and flirtation, on through the androgynous twenties and thirties and its development into the modern power game. Accompanying essays trace the game’s wider cultural influence. Here you will…

From the list:

The best books on the most beautiful and fascinating game of tennis

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Book cover of Unstoppable

Unstoppable

By Dan Freedman

Why this book?

I would recommend Unstoppable to children (boys and girls) aged about 10 – 14 years old. Roxy and Kaine are twins – she plays tennis, he plays football, and they have a troubled home life. I remember that being a teenager is difficult enough, with all the confusion, uncertainty, and pressure it brings, but in this book you also throw in elite sport, knife crime, ambitious parents, and sibling rivalry. It’s the kind of book you might give to your son or daughter and you wouldn’t see them again until they’ve finished it. Should be called Unputdownable.

From the list:

The best fiction with sporty characters

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Book cover of Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

By David Foster Wallace

Why this book?

DFW turned tennis into math and art throughout his essays and this, his magnum opus, a massive and funny and challenging novel that everyone says they've read, but didn't really. Not underrated, not overlooked, but a sure-to-be timeless work where philosophy, comedy, and literary genius intersect at a tennis academy. 

From the list:

The best novels about sports (but not really about sports)

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Book cover of The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance

By W. Timothy Gallwey

Why this book?

This "coaching" book is a quick read, but it's secretly the key to self-confidence and high performance across almost all high-pressure sports and disciplines. I have played tennis exactly zero times in my life, but I've read this book multiple times and continue to recommend it as it teaches you how to let go and perform at your best no matter what court or stage you're standing on. 

From the list:

The best novels about sports (but not really about sports)

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

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