Posts Tagged ‘Levels of the Game’

McPhee aces Ashe’s victory: ‘Levels of the Game’ delves into a 1968 tennis match, and the lives of the two men playing it

January 16, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Jan. 16, 2014

In the summer of 1968, amateur American tennis players Arthur Ashe and Clarke Graebner met in a semifinal match of the U.S. Open tournament. At that point, no American man had won the singles title in 13 years.

Writer John McPhee was on hand for the contest and penned an account of it for The New Yorker magazine. That story is the basis for the 1969 book Levels of the Game, McPhee’s in-depth exploration that combines a stroke-by-stroke description of the sporting event with detailed profiles of the two men. This slender volume — the text runs just 150 pages — is clearly written and compelling, even to a tennis layman such as myself. (I’ve attended a few U.S. Opens, but I don’t play or follow the sport.)

Part of the appeal here is the two men whose game and lives McPhee chronicles, compares and contrasts. The privileged Graebner, the son of a Cleveland dentist, was a scion of the country-club establishment. His opponent, Ashe, came from a hard-scrabble background, the likes of which tennis literally had never seen before.

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: