books: any BJK fans out there? + the tennis olympic book is not available for sale :(

The Borders Columbus Circle will hold a discussion/book signing with Billie Jean King next week. In her new book, Pressure is a Privilege, the tennis legend shares life sessons that led to her success in the Battle of the Sexes match, in sports, and in the world at large. Heck, she got a tennis complex named after her; she has to be doing something right!

Deets: Billie Jean King discussion and book signing for Pressure is a Privilege (Lifetime Media Inc., $19.95) on Tuesday, August 19 at 7pm.; Borders Columbus Circle in the Time Warner Center; 212.823.9775.

That sexy tennis photobook that the ITF published in time for the Beijing Olympics is not for sale. A limited number of books were produced as a media gift and that’s about it.

making the cut

Michael Shaw shares his memories of the U.S. Open’s qualifying tournament

Ten years ago, Aussie Pat Rafter won the U.S. Open men’s title, defeating Canadian-turned-Brit Greg Rusedski in four sets. Though Rafter was known as a very talented player and received ample attention going into the Open that year, he certainly wasn’t among the favorites. Frequently self-aggrandizing commentator John McEnroe made the mistake of calling Rafter a “one slam wonder” after his win. Rafter responded by dominating the following year’s summer hardcourt season, taking titles in Montreal and Cincinnati before winning his second Open title (over Mark Philippoussis). As it turned out, those two U.S. Opens were Rafter’s only slams, though he did make the finals of Wimbledon, also in consecutive years. This past summer he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

As the landscape of the game has shifted over the last decade, it’s highly plausible that Rafter will be the last unheralded player to win a men’s slam title. OK — if not that, then at least the last winner of a Slam who had at some point in his career played in the qualifying of the same event. In 1993, during Rafter’s first year with a full schedule on the tour (he turned pro in 1991), I was able to see him play the qualies — the tournament of 128 players competing for 16 spots in a tournament’s “main draw”.

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agassi: what will be in his memoir, etc.

This post was going to be all about Andre Agassi, but it feels weird writing about present-day Agassi without mentioning Steffi Graf. It’s funny how quickly she disappeared from the limelight after retirement. (Kim Clijsters needs to take a page from her book on how to gracefully move from tennis to motherhood.)

Anyway, it’s been a good month for Agassi: he turned around his real estate woes by having his Agassi Graf Development’s Idaho project — named Tamarack Resort — sell out in seven hours.

And yesterday everyone was abuzz about his unwritten, untitled memoir, which — after bidding that reached the madness usually reserved for retired heads of state (i.e., $5 million plus) — was sold to publisher Alfred A. Knopf. Agassi’s camp didn’t receive the highest bid from Knopf, but a good word from Bill Clinton, whose memoir was published by Knopf, sealed the deal. There is currently no timetable for the book’s release.

From the New York Post:

The book is expected to cover Agassi’s stormy marriage to Brooke Shields, his current one to tennis great Steffi Graf, as well as his work with underpriveleged youths at the Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas.

That’s all fine and good, but Andre you have to answer the meaty questions, like what made you pick on Karol Kucera, and… hmm, I’ll let this picture ask the other question: