Friday, August 10, 2012

The Olympics Unshelved: Tennis

We've been glued to our televisions this past week, watching everything from handball to synchronized diving, but  Lisa has the task of talking about one of the Games' most popular sports: Tennis!

WOW, what a week for women’s tennis! When Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova she became only the second woman in history to achieve a career Golden Slam as a singles player. (For you non-tennis types, a Golden Slam is when a player wins the Australian Open, the U.S. Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, AND wins a gold medal in the Olympics.) Steffi Graff achieved this way back in 1988. Were you even born then?!?! We hope you saw tennis history being made this week!

It was also a “golden” week for American siblings in tennis. Serena and Venus Williams won a third Double’s title, earning each of them their fourth gold medal, and twins Bob and Mike Bryan won the men’s Double title. What have you been doing with your siblings this summer???

How does someone get to be as good as the Williams or the Bryans? To get a peek at how some young tennis stars are groomed check out Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian. It's the story of two super-focused friends from New Jersey. Gorgeous Henry, short for Henriette, is a formidable tennis player, and her best friend Eva is an accomplished ballerina. They never compete with against each other except in the "who has the pushiest parent" event.

The summer Eva is accepted into the prestigious school of the New York City Ballet is the summer that Henry convinces her hyper-helicopter father to allow her to attend camp at Chackwick Tennis School in Florida. Henry blooms at Chadwick. She makes new friends, attracts a hot tennis-star boyfriend, and her game just gets stronger and stronger. But as Henry's career begins to take off, Eva slips into the clutches of an eating disorder.  While juggling the pressures of pleasing both her tennis sponsor and her new boyfriend, Henry feels like she must choose between her career and her friendship with Eva. The chapters alternate between Eva and Henry's voices, and they suck you right into the competitive worlds of tennis and ballet, and into the hearts of Eva and Henry.

Here’s the book trailer.

Here’s an interview with the author.

If mysteries are more your thing, look for John Feinstein’s Vanishing Act. Teen reporters Susan Carol Anderson and Stevie Thomas uncover a scandal when a gorgeous Russian pro goes missing at the U.S. Open. As the mystery unfolds you’ll get an insider’s view of the U.S. Open and insight into how agents can affect, and sometimes harm, a sport.

If you're inspired by these fabulous players and want to up your game, check out Go Tennis, a how-to book with step-by-step instructions and an accompanying DVD. Maybe we'll be watching you at the next Olympics!

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