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You Can Quote Me on That

( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2009 )

Teimuraz Gabashvili

Paul Fein's "You Can Quote Me On That," isn't a classic page-turner, full of mystery, plot and intrigue. It's just what it sounds like -- a collection of quotes about tennis.

Although it consists of 35 chapters, a necessity for organizing the vast material, I still found it difficult to stop when reaching a chapter's conclusion.

Under the chapter entitled "The Feminine Mystique" for example, Fein ends with a quote from Anna Kournikova saying:

"You cannot just be a great tennis player, or just be a beautiful person anymore to succeed in the game. You have to have it all, the talent, the looks, the brains and the drive."

The next chapter, "Paeans To the Champions," starts with this praise for Pete Sampras from Jim Courier:

"He can hit shots the rest of us can't hit and don't even think of hitting."

And then continues as Becker, Agassi, McEnroe and Emerson assess Pete's standing in the tennis pantheon.

What makes the book more than a sum of its considerable parts is the sense of history that pervades it. Nineteen twenties star Bill Tilden, who wrote several books on tennis, is quoted regularly, and we hear from Jack Kramer on early professional men's tennis, Bille Jean King on the struggles of the women's tour, Arthur Ashe on the class and race barriers, Martina Navratilova on sexual orientation. Not to mention Gussie Moran's panties and Suzanne Lenglen's rock star status in the 20s.

It's a whirlwind tour of tennis history in doses as small or large as you like, and it's also a reminder that the more tennis changes, the more it stays the same.

I'll close with two of my favorite quotes:

"Under these absurd and antiquated amateur rules, only a wealthy person can compete, and the fact of the matter is that only wealthy people do compete. Is that fair? Does it advance the sport? Does it makes tennis more popular - or does it tend to suppress and hinder an enormous amount of tennis talent lying dormant in the bodies of young men and women whose names are not in the social register."


"Certainly there does not appear to be anything much wrong with the game of tennis itself, although proposals for changing it always are with us. There has been little change since the rules were settled upon and possibly improvement can be had by changing some rules, but a game so stylized as tennis should be treated with great restraint. One of the things wrong may be that so many people keep trying to alter it to suit other people who do not really play it."

The first quote is from Suzanne Lenglen, circa 1920s; the second from distinguished sportswriter Al Laney in 1968.

-Freelance tennis writer Colette Lewis has covered topflight college and junior events for The Tennis Channel, Smash Magazine, Tennis Magazine, and The Tennis Recruiting Network. She serves as editor of the USTA Boys 18s & 16s National Championships' website in her hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and maintains a website devoted to college and junior tennis -

"People do say the funniest things, and tennis players are no different from anyone else in this respect. Paul Fein, author of the highly entertaining Tennis Confidential, has come up with a simple idea that really works. He has brought together memorable quotes from big names in tennis down the years. Grouping them by subjects such as women's tennis, Wimbledon and sniping at fellow players ('Nothing Personal'), the result is an amusing and revealing guided tour of the tennis world through the words of its leading figures. The obvious quotes, such as Richard Krajicek's chauvinistic remarks about women players, and a plethora of McEnroe musings, are backed up by more obscure but enlightening insights on all aspects of tennis. Paul Fein has provided an index which covers both the people quoted and the subjects of their words of wisdom, so readers can easily seek out those classic foot-in-mouth moments. Perhaps the book could have been more lavishly illustrated, but with such colourful remarks as these maybe Fein felt there was no need."

-ACE, the UK's leading tennis magazine

"Paul Fein's book, You Can Quote Me On That, will be an amusing read for any tennis fan interested in great quips, zingers, and even insights."

-Peter Bodo, on

"You Can Quote Me on That, by Paul Fein, a new tennis book, contains almost 1,700 tennis quotes in 35 chapters, or categories. What's fun about this book is that even though it's only quotes, it really ends up telling stories of various players and issues; it informs as well as entertains. On women players, there are quotes from Bill Tilden saying in the 1920s ("I have never believed a woman can successfully play the net.") and Arthur Ashe from 1970 ("Women's tennis won't draw flies.") Other quotes show how players have handled fame, where they stand on various issues, their playing style and other things. Fein, who also wrote Tennis Confidential, is an award-winning tennis journalist. Many of the quotes in the book are from his own interviews."

-Ann LoPrinzi, Tennis Columnist, Trenton Times

"If you haven't already read Paul Fein's latest book, You Can Quote Me on That: Greatest Tennis Quips, Insights, and Zingers, check it out. Paul has given us not only what's in the minds of players off the court, but what their emotions and thoughts are when they're playing. Among the quotes is a fellow Frog Island Tennis Club member: 'I don't know that I changed all that much. They just found someone worse.' -Jimmy Connors, referring to John McEnroe. Paul says he 'tried to make the book as substantive, authoritative and historical as possible, while also striving to make it entertaining.' Get a copy-it's worth it."

-John Powless, President, Super Senior Tennis

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