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Too Soon to Panic


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About the Author

Gordon Forbes played tennis for the South African Davis Cup team in the 1950s and early 1960s and returned to the circuit as a writer and observer.


Former South African tennis star Forbes (A Handful of Summer) writes less about the game of tennis than about the places where it is played and the ambiance of each, subjects on which he is both sensitive and articulate. His favorite cities are Paris, where he is still caught up in the mystique of the City of Light, and London, the center of the universe for a colonial raised by a nostalgic Briton; he enjoys Rome and is more than slightly ill at ease in New York, where the pace overwhelms him. His reminiscences range from his youth in the 1940s, through the 50s and 60s, when he was an internationally ranked player, to his career as a businessman and his current status as an observer of and commentator on the sport. Looming large in this memoir is Forbes's former doubles partner Abe Segal, an urban Jewish compatriot, earthy and outspoken, whose presence enlivens the text and who once told the author a few days before a match, "It's too soon to panic" (after which, Forbes claims, he himself began to play better). Forbes dedicates the book to his late sister, Jean, the wife of his ex-teammate Cliff Drysdale; her sudden disappearance may explain its somewhat wistful tone. (May)

This is a lighthearted, humorous look at the professional tennis tour from a former player who was on the South Africa Davis Cup Team in the 1960s. In this, his second book about professional tennis (the first being A Handful of Summers, LJ 5/15/79), Forbes draws on his memories and observations to describe the players and tour in New York, Paris, Rome, and London in the 1950s through the 1990s. As a former player and a knowledgeable spectator, he brings a depth of understanding to the sport. However, this is not the book to read for a look at life in South Africa in the last 40 years. In fact, Forbes seems blissfully unaware of any political or racial problems there. Overall, as a book of memories this is mildly entertaining and humorous. Buy for demand.‘J. Sara Paulk, Coastal Plain Regional Lib., Tifton, Ga.

'The funniest tennis book ever written'

'Rollicking, outrageous, raucous and riveting - I laughed my head off'

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