In the almost two decades since the late sociologist E. Digby Baltzell wrote his well-regarded chronicle of men’s tennis, the sophomoric behavior of contemporary professional players that he deplored has become ubiquitous. In years past, the tongue-lashing an umpire recently endured from the aggrieved singles player Viktor Troicki (captured in a widely circulated video clip) would have lived on in infamy, but today we’ll remember it only until the next display of rude court conduct hits the Internet.

Baltzell’s classic Sporting Gentlemen: Men’s Tennis from the Age of Honor to the Cult of the Superstar charts the history of tennis from its graceful origins to its current sad state. His charming anecdotes and vivid profiles are drawn from an age of nobility and grace, an age that came to an end in 1968 when the well-established amateur game gave in to economic pressures, resulting...

 

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