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You Can Quote Me on That

Billie Jean King
( Photo credit: Art Seitz ©2009 )

Billie Jean King at Wimbledon

"In the Edwardian era, games-masters at English schools sometimes ridiculed tennis as 'pat-ball,' but in the century or so since, the sport has gained a little macho grunt. Just look at Paul Fein's impressive compendium of tennis 'quips, insights and zingers.' The grim single-mindedness required to stay on top in one of the planet's glamour sports is well chronicled here. The neatly divided chapters cover everything from tributes to the champions to race issues and homosexuality (Male reporter to Martina Navratilova: 'Are you still a lesbian?' Navratilova: 'Are you still the alternative?'). Unless you're such a tennis tragic that you already know these thousands of quotes by heart, this book won't disappoint."

-Inside Sport (Australia)

In Paul Fein's You Can Quote Me on That: Greatest Tennis Quips, Insights and Zingers, a book that features notable remarks from the biggest names in tennis, that's all you get. And well, in this case, that's more than enough.

Fein, whose articles have appeared in tennis, sports and general interest publications, has captured the sport's personalities by keeping things simple.

One of the book's best quotes comes from Chris Evert, speaking about former fiance Jimmy Connors: "I remember when Jimmy and I went into confession and he came out a half-hour later, and I said, "How'd it go?' He said, "I wasn't finished. The priest said come back next Sunday.' "

Fein's work makes for easy reading, for sure, but it also gives great insight into tennis, especially its golden age of the 1970s and '80s. There are great one-liners that make you chuckle but also profound statements that take us deep into players' minds and shed light on the price of success.

- St. Petersburg (Florida) Times

"You can open the book to any page and just start reading, and you'll likely find yourself captivated by whatever topic you land on.... You Can Quote Me on That is a fun compendium that any tennis player, fan or quotes connoisseur will find interesting."

-Joe DeBurro, Tennis Columnist
Sunday Republican, Springfield, Massachusetts

Time drifts away while focusing on book's quotes

"With a couple of hours to kill before watching the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, I grabbed a copy of Fein's book, You Can Quote Me on That, and plopped down on the couch.

I was soon chuckling at Serena Williams saying, "If someone is outplaying me and her outfit isn't nice, I refuse to lose to her" and cringing at Jack Kramer saying, "Women should never be allowed on center court."

With 35 chapters and almost 1,700 quotes, it's easy to lose track of time. In the aptly titled chapter "The Ego Has Landed," minutes fly by reading such gems as Anna Kournikova's "You won, but I'm prettier and more marketable than you" comment to Martina Hingis, and Hingis saying, "She's very pretty, but I'm sure she would like to change places with me if she could and have four Grand Slam titles" to Kournikova. Hingis is actually quoted seven times in that chapter, including her 1997 comment: "It's all the time, 'Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods.' I am better than he is. I've been on top longer and I am younger. I'm just better." I don't think so, Martina.

Before I knew it, I was up to Chapter 16, named "Life on the Tour." That chapter has some humorous moments like Wendy Turnbull saying, "I know nuns with better social lives than me" and Martina Navratilova's "I was all by myself then and I was so happy, but I had no one to hug. I hugged a light pole. An aluminum light pole."

The clock struck six as I read Chris Evert's regretted comment that "no point is worth getting your dress dirty over" and Helen Wills Moody saying, "To slide, lunge, dive, does not conform to good style in tennis, but there is dignity of sincerity in the scramble." Offsetting those remarks was Suzanne Lenglen's "I just throw dignity to the wind and think of nothing but the game."

I found myself knee-deep in a tennis history lesson before I realized it. Relived in quotes is the 1949 Wimbledon scandal in which Gussie Moran's lace panties resulted in a 30-year tournament ban for designer Ted Tinling. "I couldn't have caused more of a stir if I had walked out there naked," said Moran.

More history was thrown my way as I read about The Battle of the Sexes, when Bobby "No broad can beat me" Riggs was defeated by Billie Jean "He played like a woman" King.

When I looked up, it was 6:34 p.m. -- a full half an hour after the Derby was run. I'll make sure Paul Fein is nowhere around during the Preakness.

---Robyn George, Tennis Columnist
The News-Press, Fort Myers, Florida

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