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Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self
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Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  345 ratings  ·  65 reviews
For those of you tuned into this past season's Dancing with the Stars, it's hard to believe that spectacularly fit former tennis champion Monica Seles struggled with binge-eating and depression.

Getting a Grip chronicles Monica's success on the tennis circuit where, at age sixteen, she became the youngest winner in French Open history. For three years she dominated the tour
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Hardcover, 290 pages
Published April 21st 2009 by Avery (first published March 7th 2009)
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Sean Peters
Throughout my years of watching tennis I have always loved watching Monica Seles, her determination and fighting spirit.

Her matches with Steffi Graf were always great.

Her honesty, her toughness, her fight back to the heights of top tennis after the stabbing, and also her pure honesty about her weight problems, loss of her dad.

Again one of the best tennis Autobiographies

Read this for a second time earlier this year, also read when it first came out
Ed
I was (and still am) a huge fan of Monica Seles, so I enjoyed this memoir very much. That said, I am not sure I could recommend this book to someone who is not a Seles fan or minimally, someone interested in the tennis world. Given the title, I was expecting this to be primarily about Seles' battle with weight and self-esteem struggles (after all this is her second memoir -- and I read that one too -- and she's only 35!), but there was still a whole lot about tennis, that I doubt a non-fan would ...more
Lisa
I was always a Monica Seles fan and enjoyed her book. I was intrigued by all her young self had to deal with in regards to being attacked, losing her father, losing her #1 rating (no fault of her own but due to a crazed Stefi Graf fan). Although I could not relate to the specifics of some of her struggles I was able to relate to the general concept of human struggle. I appreciated several of her thoughts and ideas that helped her work through her emotional turmoil and overcome to find peace and ...more
Cal
Really enjoyed this. I related to Monica's consistent inner-battle, her sea-saw and extreme approach to self-discipline, and although I wasn't stabbed, I too was attacked at my local tennis courts in early 1995. After reading this, I feel inspired to chip away at the layers I've built up, and start approaching life with peaceful moderation. What an inspiring lady.
Henry
This is a great story, of a remarkable talent who would not change her style and won the French Open at age 15. She had a big setback when she was attacked by a fan of Steffi Graf but she bounced back though now her quest in life is to grow spiritually. I found the book to be insightful and honest.
Michelle Gasser
I learned so much about Monica that I never knew reading this book. She had quite a journey throughout her career. I appreciate her willingness to open up about her struggles and be so real about it all. I can relate to so much of what she said.

That being said, I found the account of all the tennis matches/details/scores a bit tedious, but that's probably because I'm not a tennis player or even much of a fan. Also, I'm a bit puzzled as to how she actually was able to let go of the binging. The i
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Joni
This book gave an interesting insight into the life of Monica Seles and the world of professional tennis, which I don't watch and had no idea how it worked. I read the book as someone who also struggles with overeating, and I wanted to learn about how she overcame. In that sense, really all one needs to read is the last 8 chapters (out of 48 - they're very short). The rest of it is her personal memoir, which is interesting but not at all relatable to a normal person with an everyday life. The ba ...more
Katherine Lavelle
This book is labeled as kind of a self help/diet book, which is not what I was looking to read. Fortunately, while the book does deal with Seles' struggles with eating and exercise (in part because of the PTSD she suffered after being stabbed at a tennis match), the book is mostly a story about her. And it is a funny, touching, and interesting read. I've been watching tennis since I was a kid, and this book does a wonderful job taking the reader onto the tour, discussing the struggles she felt. ...more
Trisha
Nov 29, 2011 Trisha added it
This book was particularly interesting to me as Monica Seles was the number one women's tennis player in the world around the time I was playing on my high school's tennis team. There is a lot of tennis jargon that the average reader might not enjoy, but if one understands the game, the descriptions create great visual images of some of her matches. It was a treat for me to step inside an elite athlete's mind and examine some of her thought processes (along with the training and some natural abi ...more
Michelle
I'll preface this by saying that Seles was one of my favorite players in the 90s-00s, and it's gratifying to read that she overcame the difficult fate she was dealt -- the stabbing and early death of her father/coach -- as well as the struggle of drowning her troubles in food addiction. However, I didn't particularly enjoy reading her biography. Perhaps it's unfair to compare her book to the musings of poet-philosopher Andre Agassi who had a great deal of wisdom about life to dole out, but in th ...more
Anne
So I was a Jennifer Capriati fan growing up as a young tennis player. I found Monica Seles was often portrayed as the "bad guy" by U.S. press coverage of grand slam tournaments (even though by the time she went pro, Seles had become a U.S. citizen). But recently, when I heard a snippet from an interview with Seles, perhaps on NPR, I was intrigued over her recent transportation in mind and spirit post-retirement.

In a profession where 22 is considered past your prime, Seles hit the most amazing a
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Raghu
Monica Seles is the tennis player I have always admired most amongst the women tennis players. She was a brilliant and fearless stroke maker and conducted herself with great dignity right from the time she burst on the Grand slam circuit at the age of 16. Tragedy struck her life when she was stabbed by a deranged fan of Steffi Graf in Germany at age 19 by which time she had a record 8 Grand slam titles already against her name. So, I read her book with great interest and support and compassion f ...more
Clare
So apparently I've become the sort of person who reads sports autobiographies. I was having a hard time getting motivated to go back to roller derby after breaking my leg, and I remembered something Monica Seles wrote once for Glamour in which she basically said all she wanted to do after getting stabbed was sit around and eat ice cream, and I was like, "Yep, that sounds about right." This book did achieve its intended effect of motivating me to go back, but not in the "If Monica Seles can do it ...more
Sarah
I really wish 95% of this book wasn't about Monica's struggle with her weight during her playing years and then the last 5% being the casual denouement of her losing 30 pounds by not stressing out about it anymore. This book would have been so much better if she had spent more time delving into the self-awareness she developed in those years rather than state it as fact in the last 5 pages.
Sarah
I read a lot of tennis books and normally I would caveat any recommendation with "if you're a tennis fan". Not this one. Yes this covers a lot of tennis ground but not so much as to be off putting to a casual observer. The book is quite compelling in its look her prolonged depression following her stabbing and the death of her father. A good read whether or not you're a Seles fan or even a tennis fan.
Eileen Rose
I found this hardcover book on a bargain shelf, at a grocery store, for only $1.75. It's worth its weight in gold! I'd never heard of Monica Seles, but her story is amazing! From her happy childhood, to American immigrant, to #1 World Class tennis star at age 16, to tragedy of being stabbed by one of her opponent's fans, being immediately forgotten by her "friends" in the tennis world, losing her father/manager to cnacer,losing the case against the man who assaulted her, to depression and binge ...more
Kelly Tarr
Love, Love

I really enjoyed this book and Monica's real life attitude and down to earth story telling. What an amazing person and tennis player! I also really enjoyed reading about her food struggles and the real thoughts she had about food, tennis, travel and family. She seems like she would be a great friend!
Sue
I have always been interested in Monica Seles and her tennis career. She was a great tennis player. She was stabbed in a German tennis match at the height of her career. The man did not ever serve one day in jail and the German government acted like it was no big deal. Can you imagine? Just getting your mind wrapped around that!! How do you get rid of that anger? She certainly has had her trials in life to get back to "who she was" I liked reading about the different tennis matches and how she t ...more
Ben Starnes
great journey

I grew up watching Seles play and remember her returning to the tour after a long absence. Great insight into a professional tennis player's life combined with food struggles most of us endure. I enjoyed her book immensely.
Sarah
Not sure how to really rate this book. On a level of readability -- it is an easy read and an interesting story. Not a bad book if you were just picking it up to read. HOWEVER, from the standpoint of someone who works in an eating disorder facility, not so thrilled with the book - she is focused the whole way through with weight and numbers, and while, she may at some point have learned a thing or two about how diets do not work, she has failed to learn how to love her body, as it is, without tr ...more
Kristi
I had forgotten that Monica Seles won 9 Grand Slam Titles. That is no small feat. I liked this book, but I think she failed to open herself up as much as she good. It was a very clinical look at her life which was very amazing!!! After being stabbed, but a crazed Steffi Graff fan, her coach, best friend, and father is diagnosed with cancer. Her ability to fight through all that and come back into the top ten in tennis is inspirational. I am so glad that she has finally found peace, joy, and happ ...more
Mary
May 20, 2009 Mary rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: female tennis fans or athletes with weight struggles
More about Monica's ongoing struggle with her weight and her recent weight loss without dieting than I had realized it was going to be. Still was fun to read about her tennis matches and comeback after that crazy fan stabbed her in Germany. I would have liked to have been able to read more about her personal life though. For example, she mentions guys that she dated along the way but she does not tell much about them other than how they treated her weight gains and eating habits. She does look g ...more
ADD
Interesting personal struggle relived. I especially enjoyed her insights on the WTA tour and inane questioning by sports journalists, although she was very polite about it.
Lori
This is a good read. I recommend it.
Laura
I really liked this book. I didn't know much about Monica Seles prior to reading this but it was so interesting to get a glimpse into her life and the life of a professional athlete. Their lives appear to be so glamorous, but in reality they are extremely hard-working and under a lot of pressure.

She did a good job of telling her story and making her point towards the end as to how she got her life back. She is an inspiring person and I have a deeper respect for her and other athletes after read
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Jenn
As a former player and a life long avid fan of the game, this book provided a fascinating behind the scenes look at the tour, tournaments, the Olympics...you name it. I had no idea it was a "weight loss" book, but that part was interesting...the diets and routines they had her on did not make sense and the sumo info was actually the most interesting diet related part. Who knew sumo wrestlers had rules regarding eating? It's a "what not to do" list for normal people!
Mike
Jul 04, 2013 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for an inspirational story of one's life
Recommended to Mike by: found in bargain bin at bookstore
A very good read on one of the stars of the tennis world in the Generation X era...Monica Seles.

She tells her story of how she found tennis in her native Yugoslavia and how she moved to the States going to school at a famous tennis academy in Florida and her subsequent rise and fall in Pro Tennis.

She did not let the partying life get to her but she did have her struggles with weight over the years...and she talks of how she resolved that.

Robialice
Not exactly what I expected...the first half is a passionless recounting of training in her youth and her early career success. The second half is a "it's hard to lose weight" type whine almost. Really, Monica? Lucky you lost it by not even trying in the end.

I was hoping for a little more dirt and detail on the tennis tour and maybe a truer depiction of struggling with her inner demons to battle her weight. Not bad, though.
Alison
Monica Seles was my favorite tennis player back in her hey day and I was excited to be able to read her perspective on the stabbing and her career... I was more interested in the parts she talked about tennis and the rigors of the WTA tour, behind-the-scenes stuff, etc. But, she also talked a lot about her struggles with her weight and death of her father and, while it was interesting, she seemed to repeat herself a lot.
Jenny
Dec 31, 2009 Jenny rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jenny by: Mary Ellen
Shelves: non-fiction
Monica's book focused on her tennis life and food. I enjoyed reading about her tennis memories and reliving those matches. Of course, the stabbing event by the German fan was tragic and how it came to effect her life. I did get a bit bored with all of the descriptions of failed diet/exercise regimes, but it is essential to her story. Glad the book ended on a happy note. More power to you, Monica!
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Monica Seles is a former Yugoslav world No. 1 professional tennis player and a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

She was born and raised in Novi Sad, Serbia. She holds dual Hungarian and United States citizenship as of 2007.

She won nine Grand Slam singles titles, winning eight of them while a citizen of Yugoslavia and one while a citizen of the United States.
More about Monica Seles...
Game On (The Academy, #1) Love Match (The Academy, #2) Monica: From Fear To Victory

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“I knew I used food to cope with emotions, but just knowing it wasn't enough to completely stop it. That's why I created the twenty-second rule: Before letting myself rip into a bag of junk food, I forced myself to sit down and county to twenty. Slowly. During those twenty seconds I made myself answer a very simple question: What was really bothering me? Almost every single time, I came up with the answer before the twenty seconds were up. The next question was: What can I do right this minute to help fix it? Do I need to call someone to sort out a misunderstanding? Do I need to get paperwork done? Do I need to run overdue errands? . . .By the time I came up with something that I could do right at that moment my urge to eat had subsided and I was tacking the underlying problem.” 2 likes
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