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An energetic, lyrical, genre-defying account of the 2017 tennis season
In The Circuit, the award-winning poet—and Paris Review sports columnist—Rowan Ricardo Phillips chronicles 2017 as seen through the unique prism of its pivotal, revelatory, and historic tennis season. The annual tennis schedule is a rarity in professional sports in that it encapsulates the calendar year. And like the year, it’s divided into four seasons, each marked by a final tournament: the Grand Slams. Phillips charts the year from winter’s Australian Open, where Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal renewed their rivalry in a match for the ages, to fall’s U.S. Open, when Maria Sharapova returned to the game as only she could—by shocking the world. Along the way, Phillips paints a new, vibrant portrait of tennis, one that captures not only the emotions, nerves, and ruthless tactics of the point-by-point game but also the quicksilver movement of victory and defeat on the tour, placing that sense of upheaval within a broader cultural and social context. Tennis has long been thought of as an escapist spectacle: a bucolic, separate bauble of life. The Circuit will convince you that you don’t leave the world behind as you watch tennis—you bring it with you.