Tennis Nonwhites

Toure in the New York Times Book Review:

Screenhunter_23_jul_22_2312From the start of their professional tennis careers, Venus and Serena Williams seemed totally certain they were champions; they marched through the tennis world with the ferocity of the young Mike Tyson. James Blake was No. 9 in the world at the conclusion of Wimbledon this month; late last year he was No. 4. But only twice in his career has he reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal, and many have long sensed that his potential has been limited because he doesn’t truly believe he belongs in big-time tennis. He’s cursed with the unsureness of Dave Chappelle. Blake confirms this in his memoir, “Breaking Back” (written with Andrew Friedman), when, early in his career, he drops a winnable match to the great Patrick Rafter. “After the match, as we shook hands at the net, he leaned in close, the zinc oxide he smeared under his eyes like war paint runny with sweat: ‘You could have beaten me today,’ he said, surprising me, ‘but I had the sense that maybe you didn’t believe it yourself.’ He paused, then said, ‘Now do you believe?’ … He perceived something about me that I wasn’t even admitting to myself: I didn’t really believe that I belonged out there with the best players in the world. I didn’t feel like I deserved to win.”

More here.