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Playing the Moldovans at Tennis

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,100 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
It doesn't take much - "100 is usually sufficient" - to persuade Tony Hawks to take off on notoriously bizarre and hilarious adventures in response to a bet. And so it is, a pointless argument with a friend concludes in a bet - that Tony can't beat all eleven members of the Moldovan soccer team at tennis. And with the loser of the bet agreeing to strip naked on Balham High ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 9th 2002 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Antonina Sh
Wonderful reading! I am Moldovan, and at times it actually hurt to read some things, and sometimes I wanted to scream "That's not true!", but as a matter of fact - a lot of things in this book ARE true... Though it was written some time in the end of 90's as I undersand, and things are much better here now (at least we have lights in the streets now!), but a lot of things about mentality of Moldovans never changed...

This would probably be interesting to read both for foreigners going to Moldova
Jan 20, 2009 Shincrackerfarm rated it it was amazing
Someone had left this book in an airport. I've recommended it to five or six people as one of the more fun books I've read; the whole premise is wonderfully ludicrous, like Hawk's "Hitch-hiking Around Ireland with a Refrigerator". Finally I actually met someone from Moldova; I bought and gave him the book as a present. We became friends over the story, which he couldn't wait to share with his family and friends when he went back. Great read.
Nov 03, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone with a sense of humor
Recommended to Jen by:
I found myself laughing out loud while reading this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes travel memoirs and has a good sense of humor.

In preparing for my trip to Chisinau, Moldova I was desperate to find anything on Moldova. Seeing as most people don't know where Moldova is or that it even exists (I didn't until I was assigned the trip) I shouldn't be so shocked. Most books available are more academic histories. While I love history more than most (I'd better since I am still pa
Oct 22, 2008 Robin rated it it was amazing
After "Round Ireland with a Fridge," I knew I had to read everything by Tony. This book is the result of another bar bet and also hilarious.
Katie Jo
Nov 01, 2010 Katie Jo rated it really liked it
Fun book! Just as entertaining as Round Ireland With a Fridge and I learned a lot about Moldava as well!
Jun 05, 2009 Donald rated it it was amazing
The first Tony Hawks book I read. It made me want to read the others. Laugh out loud funny.
Brian James
Jul 01, 2013 Brian James rated it really liked it
I'd never heard of Tony Hawks before reading it on my brothers recommendation. An obscure drunken bet seen through to the end, it's funny with a few wonderfully pragmatic experiences of Moldova thrown in. A must read in your next trip to Moldova - or when you need a need a little more smiling in your life!
Mar 24, 2014 Trina rated it liked it
Shelves: travel-lit
Although this book is done on a fairly silly bet--whether he can beat the entire Moldovan soccer team at tennis--it does provide a unique look at Moldova and Transnistria which got out from under the Soviet thumb in the 1990s only to be once again up for grabs by Russia it seems...
Jul 22, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing
I don't recommend reading this book in a public place. There are so many moments in there that made me laugh out loud resulting in strange looks from the people around me. It was such an enjoyable read and would recommend it to anyone looking for something light hearted to cheer them up
Jun 19, 2008 Stasia rated it really liked it
I was living in Moldova as a Peace Corps volunteer when I read this book. Really quite funny. If you want to learn a little something about post-soviet Moldova, it's a great read. And did I mention funny?
Jan 16, 2015 Soho_black rated it really liked it
Tony Hawks is a funny guy. After all, he is a comedian, and comedians tend to have to be funny. But in recent years, he’s progressed from being “funny ha-ha” to being possibly a little bit strange. It’s not his fault, I guess. He just can’t resist a challenge. So when he got drunk one night and was bet that he couldn’t hitch hike around Ireland with a fridge in tow, he did, and then promptly wrote a book, the hilarious, if not terribly imaginatively titled “Round Ireland With a Fridge”

Arthur Smi
Apr 30, 2014 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty funny account of a weird idea that arose from a bet – playing the entire Moldovan football team at tennis! I much preferred Round Ireland With a Fridge as I simply preferred the concept, but Hawks still writes with a dry humour and a naivety that takes you on his journey with wide eyes and an open mind.

He knows nothing about the cultures he is visiting but he relays his experiences in a funny first-hand way and you learn as you travel with him.
It gives you some interesting first hand
Sep 18, 2011 Jan rated it really liked it
As a die-harder on CIS traveling, I do my best in ready every travelouge written on the former Soviet republics - some works, some do not work and some are great. Tony Hawks book is - against all odds - in the 2nd category.

The reason why Hawks has the odds against him for writing a travelouge that works (and under no circumstances is capable of writing a great travelouge) is that is simply doesn't have a clue about Moldova. As anyone that succeeds with making a living out of something he doesn't
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Still riding the wave of books on guerilla tourism and gonzo journalism, Hawks was ahead of the curve with his Round Ireland with a Fridge from 2000 as well as this book which was published shortly after, in 2001, though set, mostly, in 1998.
Peter Moore is another example of similar literature, though perhaps one of the best ones is Daniel Kalder's Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-Tourist.
Perhaps thankfully so, the genre recently seems to have abated in popularity, perhaps because the w
Tom Folsom
Dec 30, 2011 Tom Folsom rated it it was amazing
Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks is the story of Hawks' attempt to a win a bet. A bet, which, to any sane person, would sound utterly ridiculous: that he could beat all of the players that were on the field for the Moldovan national soccer team, in tennis (one on one). Why this bet, of all things? As he and his buddy were watching the game on TV, they decided to debate if athletic ability wins out over skill and knowledge of a game. As Mr. Hawks used to play tennis at a very low com ...more
This book is in with travel books but for me it is more a humorous account of a journey rather than a travel book.

If you read this expecting to find out a lot about Moldova you will probably be disappointed but if you read it as an amusing tale then you will find this funny.

It is not as good as his first book Round Ireland with a Fridge but he is in a country with people who have very different personalities to those in Ireland due to the circumstances they were living in at the time the book i
Jun 13, 2014 Bill rated it liked it
Shelves: humour, travel
A nice light, entertaining read. The story follows English comedian to Moldova, Northern Ireland and Israel as he tries to win a bet with his friend Arthur. The bet is that Tony will beat the Moldovan national footie team at tennis, all 11 players. The loser of the bet will sing the Moldovan national anthem, naked on the High Street. Tony's experiences in Moldova are quite interesting; his attempts to contact the players and teams to set up the tennis matches, his feelings about Moldova, his tho ...more
Jun 25, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
Like back during the summer of 2003, I bought so many books in the UK, I bought nearly all of Tony Hawks books except for some reason this one. So of course, when I saw it in the massive book pile in the hotel lobby, I had to pick it up. Once again, another lame bet ensues. I think the reason I didn't pick this one up is because right there in the title it has two things i don't care about. Moldovans and Tennis. I am glad I let this one sit for a few years as I was getting a little tired of near ...more
Abigailann (Abigail)

From the moment I picked up this book I was drawn in. It might help that I'd just been lucky enough to see the man himself talking about it, but I think it would have been hard to put down anyway.

Every character is described in a way that suggests Tony really understands how they tick. They are real people, who feel like they might jump out of the page at any moment.

Its amazing how many events manage to come together in this one book. There's never a dull moment as Tony pursues his quest. S
Jan 12, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it

There were some laugh out loud moments in this book. Tony Hawks makes another drunken bet. I had never heard of Moldova before. He finds out more from his host family than he does from fulfilling the bet, beating all the Moldovan soccer players at a game of tennis.
Aug 02, 2013 Athena rated it liked it
My BF lent me this book so that I would have something entertaining for my 9-hour flight. As an American, I didn't understand all of the topical asides that Hawks, a Brit, makes about British politics and culture. However, I still found the book quite humorous! I laughed out loud numerous times during the plane ride. The book was especially meaningful to me, because I've been living in Eastern Europe for the past year, and I completely understand the cultural shock that Hawks experiences through ...more
Tim Brewin
Dec 19, 2013 Tim Brewin rated it really liked it
This is a different book to Tony Hawks' previous book, Round Ireland With A Fridge, although it starts off in similar terms, discussing an odd bet he has undertaken. However, this goes on to be a much more significant journey for Hawks, as he takes the chance to witness life in Eastern Europe first hand.
There is far less larking around in this book than in Round Ireland with a Fridge, and somehow, this feels appropriate.
For me, this represents proof that Hawks is capable of writing a serious tra
Pete Hardy
Tony Hawks is brilliantly dry. All of his books are worth a read if you like his oeuvre. Which I do.
Apr 10, 2016 Gruia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nu te prinde la început, are umor chinuit și scenariu frivol. Apoi răsare tenacitatea lui Hawks și dorința lui sinceră de a transmite speranță și optimism unor oameni brutalizați. Începi să ții cu toți moldovenii, în timp ce Hawks pare în continuare un aiurit venit să dea cu bâta-n baltă.

Partea cu adevărat amuzantă a cărții se urnește din momentul în care are loc primul meci de tenis cu fotbaliștii și continuă în crescendo până la final.

Istorisirea este de 5 stele, însă versiunea în limba română
Dec 23, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
Steve Clark
Jun 19, 2014 Steve Clark rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't even know why I'm holding this at four stars, because I loved it. There just aren't enough really FUNNY books out, and this one definitely qualifies. It does touch on serious issues and makes some thoughtful points, but never even approaches getting bogged down by taking itself too seriously. Definitely going to be looking forward to reading his earlier book, "Round Ireland with a Fridge", which I might have read first, but this was the first one I could get my hands on.
Mar 15, 2014 Danièle rated it really liked it
A delightful book. Tony makes a bet that he can beat the entire Moldovan football team at tennis. The actual challenge turns out to be finding the players in the first place. Tony tells his story with a lot of humour, but there is also a lot of room for reflection about the situation in Moldova. Although Tony's bet is pretty senseless, his determination inspires a Moldovan teenager, which is by far the most touching thing in the book.
Christine Blachford
Feb 06, 2014 Christine Blachford rated it liked it
Plot: Tony makes a bet that he can’t play and beat the whole National football team of Moldova at tennis. He goes to Moldova and finds it a lot harder than he first thought it would be, and he wasn’t exactly expecting an easy ride! He’s spurred on by the thought that losing the bet means naked singing…

Characters: The only Tony Hawks I’d heard of is an American skater (although I think it’s spelt differently) but this one writes a pretty good book. The footballers barely make an appearance, thoug
Nov 26, 2014 Evan rated it really liked it
Tony Hawks zal niet snel overladen worden met literaire prijzen, maar als ik als aarzelende lezer in korte tijd drie van zijn boeken verslind, moet hij toch iets goed doen. Minder reflectief dan A Piano in the Pyrenees, over een idiote uitwas van een midlife crisis en niet zo hilarisch als de omslachtige kroegentocht in zijn Round Ireland with a Fridge, is Playing the Moldovans weer een geweldig leesboek. Hawks wedt dat hij t volledige Moldavische voetbalelftal kan verslaan in een potje tennis. ...more
Carnivorous Mower
Dec 19, 2015 Carnivorous Mower rated it really liked it
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Tony Hawks, is a British comedian and author, famous for his Quizotic travel accounts undertaking bizarre wagers with friends. Hawks performs stand-up comedy, and is a regular on TV and radio panel games in the UK, including I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Just a Minute, The Unbelievable Truth and Have I Got News for You, although he first came to prominence as one of two resident performers — the oth ...more
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