Included in this anthology, edited by Caryl Phillips, are Martin Amis in praise of Pete Sampras, Alistair Cooke on "Why I love Gabriela Sabatini," and Fred Perry describing his first Wimbledon win, when the crowds backed his Australian opponent, considering Perry too working-class.
The game of tennis, genteel and volatile by turns, has attracted the attention of some of the finest writers—perhaps because, more than in most sports, there are always other considerations present on court: politics, class, sex, money, gender and race. At a time when the game is changing, with more money on offer, with players like Tim Henman and Venus Williams assuming the status of pop stars, and with an ever-increasing world-wide audience, The Right Set explores the past, present and future of tennis, with a wide-ranging selection of pieces from novelists, journalists and, more importantly, the players themselves.
The volume focuses on the traditions and etiquette of tennis and, at the same time, spotlights those who have transgressed those rigid codes of practice: players such as Billie Jean King, who fought for the equality of women on the courts; Martina Navratilova, who made no apologies for her sexuality; Venus Williams, who battled her way up from the streets of LA's black ghetto; and the bad boys like John McEnroe who became their own worst enemies. It is these transgressions that have galvanised the traditional game of tennis and made it the exciting sport it is today.