Tennis champion Blake, who has appeared on Oprah and The Tonight Show, shares his string of hard-won successes both on the court and in his personal health. A child of a black father and white British mother in Fairfield, Conn., Blake hooked into serious tennis playing by age 11, when he was paired with coach Brian Barker, who remained his gentle mentor for the duration of his career. Having turned professional by his sophomore year of college at Harvard in 1991, Blake had mixed success on the pro circuit for the first few years. Sustaining confidence seemed to be Blake's biggest challenge, as he struggled to follow the advice of his father, Tom, who was fighting a losing battle with stomach cancer: You can't control your level of talent, but you can control your level of effort. At age 23, he decided to shave his trademark dreadlocks. Soon after, he ran into a steel net post during a practice game in Rome, fracturing his neck vertebrae. Blake was later diagnosed with paralyzing zoster, or shingles. His memoir is an inspirational account of overcoming the odds to return to competitive playing by 2004. (Aug.)
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“The grace and dignity that James has shown during some very difficult times has been a source of great inspiration.” (Andre Agassi)
“Blake is a championin every sense of the word.” (Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue)
“I’ve known James since early childhood...James’s rise to international success is as stunning as it was predictable.” (John Mayer)
“Through Blake’s commitment and passion, he tells the story of the life lessons he learned while facing difficult personal challenges.” (Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, wife of the late Arthur Ashe)
“[James Blake] has inspired young people everywhere with his story of courage and determination.” (former president George H.W. Bush)