Some people make what they do look effortless and easy. That’s the beauty of being the best at what you do. In sport, athletes are often held on a pedestal and celebrated as if they are heroes. However, if they slip up in life they are very quickly, and ruthlessly, scrutinised.
But we really know that it is never as easy as it seems. To be the at the top of your game, in whichever field you choose, you need grit, determination and hours of hard work. This week we are taking a look at 6 new biographies of some of these legends. What these biographies share is an insight into the world in which these sporting greats live, their families, friends, and reality behind their success.
Roger Federer: The Biography by René Stauffer
Rene Stauffer has been closely covering Roger Federer’s career for nearly 25 years. In this comprehensive biography, Stauffer talks at length to the man himself, his family, friends, coaches and rivals to paint an unrivalled picture of the greatest male tennis player of all time.
From his early life in Basel, Switzerland, where he first picked up a tennis racquet, to the heights of his 20th Grand Slam victory and all points in between, Stauffer reveals the secrets to Federer’s success, the hardships and doubts that he has faced and examines the legacy that Federer has created in the modern game.
Barty: Much More Than Tennis by Ron Reed and Chris McLeod
Of all the uplifting sports stories that have captured the imagination of Australia as a nation, few have been greeted with such spontaneous and unanimous acclaim as tennis champion Ashleigh Barty.
Her inspirational 2021 Wimbledon win delivered a celebration not seen since Cathy Freeman’s immortal Olympic triumph 21 years ago. This book covers her journey from knockabout kid from Queensland to world champion and explores her rare gift for the game, engaging personality, innate modesty and relentless determination to be the best.
Barty’s mantra is that being a good human being is far more important than being a good tennis player, and it has been widely hailed as a lesson for all. In other words, she now transcends sport. Her unfolding, unfinished narrative has come to resonate with overtones of national pride and inspiration, community morale, cultural issues ancient and modern, the importance of family and friends, the regard for humility and grace over rampant ambition, the escalating battle for gender equality, and perspectives on fame and fortune. In this new edition of the top seller, award-winning sports writer Ron Reed and journalist Chris McLeod pay tribute to the World No. 1 covering all her games and unforgettable moments.
Tour de Force: by Mark Cavendish
Just how did Mark Cavendish, the greatest sprint cyclist of all time, return from being seemingly dead and buried at 36 to become the Tour de France’s most successful ever stage winner?
Deep down, Mark Cavendish thought he was finished. After illness, setbacks and clinical depression, the once fastest man in the world had been written off by most. And at the age of 36, even he believed his explosive cycling career would fade out with a whimper. The Man x man hadn’t won a single Grand Tour stage in Italy, Spain or France since 2016.
But then came his incredible resurrection at the 2021 Tour de France. Included on the Deceuninck Quick-Step team at the very last minute, only after Sam Bennett suffered an injury, Mark set about rewriting history. He claimed back the green jersey he first wore in 2011, and his four stage victories finally saw him matching Belgian legend Eddy Merckx’s all-time record of 34 Tour de France stage wins. Cycling greats are never content, and Cavendish’s dogged determination and inner strength had earned him the record that few believed he could ever achieve. This is his own intimate account of that race, right from the saddle of the miracle tour.
Murray Walker: Incredible by Maurice Hamilton
His was the voice I heard every weekend growing up while my dad and brother watched Formula One with eager anticipation of a shiny red car winning. Murray Walker was the voice of Formula One, matching the thrill of the track with his equally fast-paced and exhilarating commentary, delivering the euphoria of motor racing to millions.
Commentating on his first grand prix for the BBC at Silverstone in 1949, Murray’s broadcasting career spanned over fifty years. His natural warmth and infectious enthusiasm won great affection with audiences, whilst his passion and knowledge of motorsport allowed him to hone his instinctive presenting style into a craft.
When Murray passed away in March 2021, tributes came flooding in from every corner of the sporting world. This book, compiled by Murray’s great friend and colleague Maurice Hamilton, celebrates the extraordinary life of this truly legendary man. With contributions from drivers and industry figures, and many friends from the world of motorsport and beyond, Incredible! combines fond memories, never-before-told stories and famous Murrayisms with reflections on the highlights of a life lived at full throttle.
Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee by Shannon Lee
Bruce Lee’s daughter illuminates her father’s most powerful life philosophies, demonstrating how martial arts are a perfect metaphor for personal growth, and how we can practice those teachings every day.
Bruce Lee is a cultural icon, renowned the world over for his martial arts and film legacy. But Lee was also a deeply philosophical thinker, learning at an early age that martial arts are more than just an exercise in physical discipline, they are an apt metaphor for living a fully realised life.
Now, in Be Water, My Friend, Lee’s daughter Shannon shares the concepts at the core of his philosophies, showing how they can serve as tools of personal growth and self-actualisation. Each chapter brings a lesson from Bruce Lee’s teachings, expanding on the foundation of his iconic “be water” philosophy. Over the course of the book, we discover how being like water allows us to embody fluidity and naturalness in life, bringing us closer to our essential flowing nature and our ability to be powerful, self-expressed, and free.
Be Water, My Friend is an inspirational invitation to us all, a gentle call to action to consider our lives with new eyes. It is also a testament to how one man’s exploration and determination transcended time and place to ignite our imaginations and to inspire many around the world to transform their lives.
Unguarded by Scottie Pippen
This is an unflinching master class of a memoir from two-time Olympic gold medalist and NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. Scottie Pippen has been called one of the greatest NBA players for good reason. Simply put, without Pippen, there are no championship banners, let alone six, hanging from the United Center rafters. There’s no Last Dance documentary. There’s no Michael Jordan as we know him. The 1990s Chicago Bulls teams would not exist as we know them.
So how did the youngest of twelve go from growing up poor in the small town of Hamburg, Arkansas, enduring two family tragedies along the way, to become a revered NBA legend? How did the scrawny teen, overlooked by every major collegiate basketball program, go on to become the fifth overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft? And, perhaps most compelling, how did Pippen set aside his ego (and his own limitless professional ceiling) in order for the Bulls to become the most dominant basketball dynasty of the last half century?
In Unguarded, the six-time champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist finally opens up to offer pointed and transparent takes on Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, and Dennis Rodman, among others. Pippen details how he cringed at being labeled Jordan’s sidekick, and discusses how he could have (and should have) received more respect from the Bulls’ management and the media.
Pippen reveals never-before-told stories about some of the most famous games in league history, including the 1994 playoff game against the New York Knicks when he took himself out with 1.8 seconds to go. He discusses what it was like dealing with Jordan on a day-to-day basis, while serving as the facilitator for the offence and the anchor for the defence.
Pippen is finally giving millions of adoring basketball fans what they crave; an unvarnished, closely observed, and uncommonly modest look into his life and role within one of the greatest, most popular teams of all time.