In 2004, James Blake's life was getting more perfect by the day. A
rising tennis star, with each passing year his game seemed to
improve. In 2002, he was named Sexiest Male Athlete by People, and
along the way he continued to gain in the rankings and earn respect
on the court. Each day seemed to offer a new milestone, a new
achievement; he was leading a charmed life and loving every minute
of the ride.
But that life came to an abrupt halt in May 2004 when Blake
broke his back in a freak accident on the court. A few months
later, as Blake was recovering from his injury, he suffered another
tremendous setback when his father-the man who had raised him and
provided the inspiration for his tennis career-lost his battle with
stomach cancer. Shortly after his father's death, Blake's situation
was further complicated when he contracted Zoster, a rare virus
that paralyzed half of his face and threatened to end his already
jeopardized tennis career.
Breaking Back tells the story of the tumultous year that
followed these three devastating events, detailing how Blake
persevered through hardship to become one of the best tennis
players in the world. Here Blake explains how the wisdom and words
that his father imparted to him over the years gave him the ability
to succeed in the face of these seemingly insurmountable odds.
Though these trials proved the most difficult of his life,
ultimately this trifecta of tragedy became the culmination of all
his father's lessons, showing Blake that even in death, his father
was still teaching him how to be a man.
In the spirit of Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike and
Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking comes this remarkable
tale ofstrength and determination from one of tennis's biggest
stars. A story of passion, willpower, and the unbreakable bonds
between a father and a son, Breaking Back is one athlete's account
of finding hope in the bleakest of times.
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