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Tennis is a great sport for anyone who is looking to improve their fitness, maintain their health, and increase their agility. Furthermore, tennis is a game to be played at a club or with friends making it a wonderful social activity. However, many players believe that the most interesting thing about the sport isn’t its physical challenge, but it’s an emotional one. Playing tennis can improve a player’s ability to handle stress and increase their mental capacity overall.

So if you a beginner or a seasoned tennis player, consider checking out a few books about the sport, whether written by players and fanatics. Here’s a shortlist of novels to check out if you’re looking to gain insight into the world of tennis or simply feel inspired.

The Outsider by Jimmy Connors

Jimmy Connors is known for his aggressive style of playing. Always one to speak his mind, he was often viewed as defiant, however, the dedication he had to tennis made him an easy fan favorite. In 1991, at the age of 39 Connors made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Open and competed against players who were half his age. Since his retirement, Connors has mostly stayed out of the public view, but in this memoir, he comes back with ferocity. The Outsider is a story about much more than tennis. Connors allows readers to learn about his private life and includes stories about his personal relationships and battles with gambling. This book isn’t just for fans, but anyone who would like to be inspired.

Tennis Hobo: A Derailed Memoir by John Gruberg

You do not have to love tennis to enjoy this semi-autobiographical novel. Tennis Hobo is told like a road story in Kerouac tradition. John Gruberg worked as a tennis coach for many years and has experienced the joys and the sorrows that come with teaching the game. He provides readers with hilarious insights and unique instructional tips. One story includes hoping a train to make it to a tennis tournament in Montana!

Rafa: My Story by Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is currently ranked number 2 in the world in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He has won 19 Grand slam singles titles, the second-most in history for a male player. This book includes loads of insight into what goes on before a match and Nadal’s upbringing and coaching. Nadal comes across as a fairly likeable man and provides readers with a bit of perspective when it comes to his mentality and how it affects his game.