If you love Wimbledon tennis, you’ll love these books

Serving up a mix of reads charting the triumphs and disasters of the famous championships.

These Wimbledon-themed reads are perfect accompaniment to the tournament
Book jackets of Wimbledon: A Personal History by Sue Barker, The People's History by Richard Jones and The Roger Federer Effect by Simon Cambers & Simon Graf (Ebury Spotlight/Pitch Publishing/PA) These Wimbledon-themed reads are perfect accompaniment to the tournament

So much has been written about Wimbledon, our most famous tennis tournament, and each year new books are published to chart the experiences of the players, coaches, the drama and unusual events on and off court.

This year, the retired doyenne of tennis presenting and former Grand Slam winner, Sue Barker, has written Wimbledon: A Personal History (Ebury Spotlight), her own account of her experiences and memories of the championships, conversations with the greats including Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Venus Williams and Roger Federer and providing behind-the-scenes revelations.

But there are other books published over the years which ardent fans of the tournament won’t be able to put down.

Here are just a few of them.

1.  The People’s Wimbledon by Richard Jones (Pitch Publishing)

From a tennis writer who was himself born in Wimbledon, this celebration of the championships in words and pictures rekindles memories of colourful characters, breathtaking matches, intense rivalries and rare upsets from days gone by.

Relive the exploits of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, plus Steffi Graf, Rod Laver, Billie Jean King, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad and Maria Bueno. It also charts the history of Wimbledon from the first championship in 1877 through to the modern day.

2. Open by Andre Agassi (Vintage)

This explosive memoir from the former Wimbledon champion and maverick of the Centre Court made headlines when it was first published in 2010, with his confessions of drug taking, the snippets about his love life, anecdotes about his rivalry with other players and details of how he wore a wig in the 1990s (he reckons it may have lost him the French Open because he was so concerned that it would fall off).

He recalls the constant pressure even as he drove himself to become a prodigy, finally settling down with fellow Wimbledon champion Steffi Graf. These days they live in Las Vegas.

3. Trailblazers: The Unmatched Story Of Women’s Tennis by Billie Jean King with Cynthia Starr (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

Women’s tennis would not be where it is today without the trailblazer Billie Jean King, former world number one, winner of 39 Grand Slam titles, including 20 at Wimbledon – six in singles, 10 in women’s doubles, and four in mixed doubles. As founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, she’s the co-author of this updated and expanded edition of the 1988 original – entitled We Have Come A Long Way: The Story Of Women’s Tennis – recording the history of the game and shedding new light on barriers that were overcome and milestones that were achieved.

The book highlights the individual stories of determined players who effected great change and of the long, hard road women in tennis followed to achieve racial, gender and financial equity in their sport. It features 40 profiles, from Althea Gibson to Naomi Osaka, honoured for their contributions and achievements, illustrated with 250 photographs.

4. The Roger Federer Effect by Simon Cambers and Simon Graf (Pitch Publishing)

This book tells the story of the world’s most famous tennis player in a fresh, innovative way – through the eyes of his friends, rivals, coaches, fans and many others who have been drawn to him as he blazed a trail and transcended the sport. In a glorious career spanning more than two decades, Federer won 20 Grand Slam titles – including eight at Wimbledon – and more than 100 tournaments worldwide.

As he enters retirement, more than 40 personalities from inside and outside tennis reveal the special place Federer holds in their lives. Through exclusive interviews, they explain the Roger Federer phenomenon in fascinating and often previously untold anecdotes.

5. But Seriously by John McEnroe (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)

Three-times Wimbledon singles champion, one-time ‘Superbrat’ and all-round tennis legend, John McEnroe has gone from hell-raiser and umpire nemesis to the well-respected BBC commentator who joshes with his peers and is known for saying it like it is.

In this follow-up to his earlier memoir, Serious, he charts his struggles to reinvent himself as a father, art collector, musician and broadcaster after retiring from professional tennis in 1992, his relationship with second wife Patty Smyth, and his efforts to be the best father he could to his six children (he had three daughters with Tatum O’Neill and another two daughters and a step-daughter with Smyth).

The Wimbledon Championships take place from July 1-14.