Author Explains How He Set the Tennis Book Pace

Gerald Marzorati is a former New York Times Magazine editor.

LatetotheBallCoverArriving in bookstores today, Late to the Ball: Age. Learn. Fight. Love. Play Tennis. Win. is all about former magazine editor Gerald Marzorati’s attempt to get good at the sport of tennis, in his sixties. Marzorati has worked at Soho News, The New Yorker, Harper’s and The New York Times Magazine, where he was an editor from 2003 to 2010.

Appearing on the weekly Sports Illustrated podcast Beyond the Baseline, Marzorati explained to Jon Wertheim how his days as an editor helped inspire the lively pace of the book, which the host praised. Said Marzorati:

“I wanted the book to move quickly. I imagined a book that someone could read in a weekend, not two weeks, and that would have this sort of propulsive force forward. For many years, I edited Michael Lewis and Lewis has this amazing ability to keep you going.”

“It just tumbles forward, and you get through the book quickly. And I love that about his writing…  He does it with sentences, starting with dependent clauses and having those sentences tumble and tumble. And I don’t have that style. But I wanted that kind of pace. I wanted someone to not to feel bogged down by this book.”

Marzorati also has a fun piece this week in The New Yorker about fellow tennis player Leo Tolstoy. His curiosity about that topic was by piqued by an old photo.

These days, in addition to being an author and tennis player (Marzorati endured a bruising doubles loss the night before the podcast), he consults for the Stone Barns Center for Food in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. The author also told Wertheim about an intriguing freelance piece taking shape for nascent print quarterly Racquet magazine and a key piece of advice he received about his book topic from mentor Roger Angell.

Jacket cover courtesy: Scribner