Breaking Back : How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life, by Blake, James
- ISBN: 9780061343490 | 0061343498
- Cover: Hardcover
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In 2004, James Blake's world was getting more perfect by the day. As a rising young tennis star, his life and his game were constantly gathering new momentum while he traveled the world and rose through the international tennis rankings-eventually climbing as high as number twenty-two. With a tournament victory and many great matches under his belt (not to mention being named People's Sexiest Male Athlete in 2002), each day seemed to offer a new milestone, a new achievement; he was leading a charmed life and loving every minute of it. But that life came to a shocking halt in May 2004, when Blake fractured his neck in a freak accident on the court. A few months later, as he was recovering from his injury, he suffered another heart-stopping setback when his father-the man who had been the inspiration for his tennis career and the center of his world-lost his battle with stomach cancer. Shortly after his father's death, Blake was dealt a third blow when he contracted zoster, a rare virus that paralyzed half of his face and threatened to end his already jeopardized tennis career. Tracing Blake's life in the wake of these three cataclysmic events, Breaking Back tells the dramatic story of the tumultuous year that followed this convergence of tragedies. With honest, open prose, Blake examines the mental fears, physical strains, and frustrating heartbreak that followed him from hard-fought qualifiers to match point on the US Open's center court as he tried to win his life back from misfortune. Detailing each step of his arduous journey, he explains how the off-court challenges of 2004 powered him through his self-doubt, guided him to the world's top five, and proved that even in death his father was still teaching him to be a man. Offering a fascinating reflection on the nature of tragedy and how, with the help of positive thinking, we persevere through it, Blake demonstrates that while the trials of 2004 were the most difficult of his life, they gave him the strength and perspective he needed to win in tennis and in life. A story of passion, willpower, and the unbreakable bonds between a father and a son, Breaking Back is one athlete's account of finding hope in the bleakest of times.