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Courts of Babylon

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  9 reviews
A true insider's book, this sly, irreverent expose of the personalities, politics, intrigue, and innuendo surrounding the greed-and-ego fueled world of pro tennis leaves no player untouched, from John McEnroe and Steffi Graf to Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi, and Martina Navratilova. Photos.
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published June 5th 1995 by Scribner Book Company
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3.53  · 
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 ·  66 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Apr 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed, non-fiction
As many of you know, I like tennis.

Where I live, spring has finally sprung, and this means tennis season is back on. I usually try to read a tennis themed book in the run up to the European season, and today it just felt right to chill my tennis-tired bones after two days of matches (who doesn't go over-board on the first chance of playing outdoors?!) with an attempt to finish off some current reads. One of those was Peter Bodo's The Courts of Babylon, first published in 1995.

I usually like to s
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by: Epic (by Matthew Cronin)
Shelves: sports
More like a 2.5. This book had its good points. In general Bodo is a good writer. And I liked the chapter on Boris Becker. And it was interesting to see behind the scenes of an era when I was either following tennis but too young/naive to be aware of what was going on behind the curtain, or not following tennis. But it is a little dated. (Forex, it's hard to talk about minorities on the tour, esp. the women's tour, without mentioning the Williams sisters. But Bodo couldn't really do that because ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The good content here is great (lots of interesting background information on players I wasn't previously familiar with; plenty of lol-worthy quotations from my beloved John McEnroe), but as a whole: kind of a mess. This probably would have been better served as an essay collection situating notable players within broader contexts of the sport/their respective social circles and cultures rather than as a weak attempt to structure a cohesive whole about the state of tennis. Some of the attempts a ...more
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
My only experience with Peter Bodo's writings is from some of his articles for "". And I will be honest, I wasn't particularly impressed with his skills as a writer or as an analyst. I was a bit baffled by it considering his name is popular and synonymous with tennis journalism. I assumed, like with Nirmal Shekar of the Hindu/Sportsstar,that perhaps his best was behind him ?

Therefore, it is with some surprise and relief that I report that "Courts of babylon" is very interesting. The bo
Deborah aka Reading Mom
This was the culmination of my June "tennis" month (which somehow bled into July). Of all the tennis-related books for the month, this was my favourite. One reason is that I love Peter Bodo's writing--all the years of devouring his articles for Tennis Magazine, I guess. Another reason is that as a "baby boomer" like Peter, my interest in all things tennis started a couple of years after the 1968 start of the Open Era, so reading this book was like taking a walk down memory lane; recalling names ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: tennis, read-in-2015
I love tennis. I love playing it, watching it, talking about it and reading about it. I also love Pete Bodo's articles on, and so I was slightly disappointed not to enjoy this book as much I thought I would. Large parts of it were really interesting, and in retrospect these were the "gossipy" parts - fascinating insights into the lives and characters of players like John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati. But I found myself skimming through the long passages and ...more
Jul 28, 2012 rated it liked it
The author had some pretty obvious prejudices, which made for an annoying read. Some parts were interesting but early on he set the tone and I couldn't shake the feeling that I just didn't like the guy. made it hard to be on board with a lot of his facts as they were mostly thinly-veiled personal opinions.
Jim Barber
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Always interesting to read an insider's view of pro tennis. This was written in the mid 90s and a lot has changed since then. Nevertheless, this one holds up well.
Jul 31, 2010 is currently reading it
Pro tennis made crazy tennis players even crazier.
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“The public never appears to tire of endless courses of strawberries and cream, and the theory that you run the risk of boring people with endless photo montages of the Chelsea Pensioners in their dress reds, or close-ups of a Pimm's Cup sprouting all kinda of flora, has yet to be proven. People like Wimbledon in the same way they like blue jeans or even their own spouses: for the pleasure yielded by their reliable sameness.” 2 likes
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