As last week's U.S. Open finals made plain, the game of tennis is in a moment of dramatic transition, with older stars feeling the weight of time and new stars ascending. This week, with memories of that tournament lingering, we bring you a selection of pieces on the game and some of its most vivid personalities.
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In 1973, Herbert Warren Wind, known in his day as the premier writer about golf and tennis, reported on a wild exhibition and media extravaganza billed as a "Battle of the Sexes": Billie Jean King, then the top women's player, against Bobby Riggs, who was a top player and a wily hustler. King's decisive triumph, which was broadcast in prime time from the Astrodome, lives on as both a boost to the women's game and as a kind of pop-culture milestone in the movement for equality in sports.
In "A Tennis Fairy Tale in New York," Louisa Thomas writes about the stunning final between the biggest new names in the game, Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez. In "The Third Man," Lauren Collins profiles Novak Djokovic, who had hoped to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam, but fell short in the finals. ("His play is plasmatic," Collins writes. "He seems to flow toward the corners of the court.") In "New Racquet," from 2013, Reeves Wiedeman writes about another lion of the men's game, Roger Federer. Finally, Gerald Marzorati reflects on the most extraordinary career in modern tennis, that of Serena Williams: "She is, clearly, the greatest of all time: the most dominant for the longest stretch of years; the most influential on the way the game has come to be played."
— David Remnick
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