Getting a Grip

I was drawn to Monica Seles’ autobiography as a curiosity– what happened to that tennis legend who seemed to drop out of our sight completely? In 1993 she was stabbed in the back by a deranged fan of Steffi Graf’s, who ended up getting only probation and no jail time. She had luckily been bending over for a sip of water at the time, otherwise would have been completely paralyzed by the stabbing. Due to Germany’s lack of punishment for her attacker, she vowed never to set foot in the country again, and skipped the WTA tournament in Munich in 2001.
At the time of the stabbing, she’d been a professional for three years and racked up eight Grand Slam titles. The early chapters of her book deal with the initial spark of love for tennis, playing in a makeshift court in Yugoslavia since no one under age 12 was allowed on the courts, eventually moving to Florida and joining the elite tennis academy with Sampras, Agassi, and Michael Chang.
Seles traces her food obsession back to the tennis academy, where she discovered the joys of peanut butter, and began to use food to fill the hole inside her life being so far removed from her parents. The food obsession came back with a vengeance after the stabbing, and she would mope around the house watching daytime TV and eating peanut butter pretzels and ice cream.
After recovering from her injury, she found herself ballooning to 40 or 50 pounds above her normal weight, and unable to stop binging on late night fast food or attacking the hotel mini bar for their sweet and savory treats. Her team of coaches and nutritionists were unable to get her to stop the unhealthy behavior.
As the story unfolds, she begins to expand her life more and more outside the tennis world, with horseback riding, vacations, skydiving, shark-swimming. When she turns 30, she heads to Costa Rica and relaxes for the first time in her life, joining an impromptu yoga class on the morning of her birthday. That year, she begins walking walking walking and listening to her body tell her what it needed to eat, and dropped 30 pounds without dieting as a result.
Definitely a book that makes you pull for her, and written in her own style. It doesn’t smack of ghost-writing to my eyes, at least.

auth=Seles, Monica
sub=On my body, my mind, my self