Rollo, I know this is men's tennis but I hope you don't close the thread with a link to the mens tennis forums as the BOTP forum there is dead. Maybe we could make this a men's tennis thread to talk about the guys who used to play? Even if it is just to talk about the sexy players back in the day
Anyway I bought another book on EBay called Short Circuit. Has anyone else read it? It is written by the same author who wrote Ladies of the Court. I have to say he focused a lot more on the personal lives of the players in Ladies of the Court than in this book on the men but there was still a bit of controversy.
It is about 1982 and the tour was just rife with guarantees, fixing, betting and drugs. 2 rivals companies were running seperate tours - one with tournament ranking points, one only for money. Umpires were brokering deals to get money off cars, organising wild cards for players and were even sponsored to wear clothes of certain companies (the author asks what if the umpire is doing a match involving a player signed to the same company?), tournament directors were negotiating guarantees for players, players were splitting prize money and sets even in official tournaments and the top players were openly acknowleged to get the calls when they need them. It was shocking to read that not only did all that happen but it was openly admitted. I knew players got guarantees and still do now, but the other things surprised me especially the umpires behaviour.
Yannick Noah also said the drugs were rife and you could even tell when a player was on speed - their eyes were wide, they were overly aggressive in body language, got angry with umpires when it was totally unnecessary etc. Players would have an amazing run and never be heard of again due to the affects of the drugs. He said players even caked the sweat bands on their wrists with cocaine and took a sniff to get themselves up for big points!
Mats Wilander sounds sweet though when he won the French at 17. I have not seen him play but he won the first set 6-1 in 59 minutes in the French final, so I have an idea
I think the rules and conduct of the tour have tightened up since then as it is all under the ATP but back then it sounds like outside the French, Wimbledon and the US Open it was all about making money in any way possible - player, agents, umpires and directors - and the tennis was almost irrelevant.