Books - The Ultimate Tennis Gifts

Posted on October 31 2018

They say that one of the best ways to expand the mind is through reading. It might not seem obvious that this necessarily translates to the tennis court, but there are a million ways to improve your tennis through reading! Whether it be self-help books, biographies, or technical advice, reading can be one of the best ways to improve your tennis and learn more about the game you love.


If you know someone who is a big tennis enthusiast, then a well-written book could make for the perfect Christmas tennis gift. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of tennis books out there that amount to quite the letdown, so we’ve poured through some of the options to ensure that you get the perfect tennis gift.

We’ve looked through our favorite mental guides, technical guides, and general tennis books, and there is an amazing amount to be learned about the game that we love. Whether you want to know the best tactic for hitting second serves on break point down, or what it’s like to watch Roger Federer in the flesh, the chances are that someone else has had the exact same thought, and imparted their wisdom to help guide you or a friend through.

If you’re trying hard to think up Christmas gift ideas, then look no further than these tennis gifts, they’re simple, well-written books, that can make a real difference to your loved one’s tennis game.

If you’re tired of your partner coming home every evening complaining about their serve, then help them fix it, with a handy tennis guide, or give them the perfect holiday read with a history of tennis!

Here’s the list of our favorite tennis books!

String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis by David Foster Wallace [Amazon]



A problem you often encounter with sports literature is that its written by people who are professionals in sport, not writing. You wouldn’t often associate literary genius with the genre of sports books, but with David Foster Wallace this is certainly not the case.

Not only was Foster Wallace a Pulitzer Prize nominee, but Time Magazine also listed his novel Infinite Jest as one of the top 100 English language novels published between 1923 and 2005, praise indeed!

The best thing about String Theory [Amazon] is that it's written by a fan and absolute connoisseur of the game. By his own admissions, Foster Wallace had a “near great” junior tennis career, so he is uniquely placed to be able to combine his tennis experiences with the wonderful words that have made his novels so successful.

This isn’t particularly a book that is going to help improve your tennis, but it will certainly increase your love for this wonderful sport.

String Theory is an excellent read and is our top pick for tennis gifts this Christmas.

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey [Amazon]



“All that we are is the result of what we have thought,” said Buddha. Buddha obviously wasn’t a tennis player, but in this quote, he sums up exactly how tennis works. Have you ever been lining up a second serve and thought, I’m going to double fault, and that’s exactly what you did? Of course you have, everyone has!

The mental side of tennis is possibly the most important part of the game, and it’s also the most difficult to master. There are so many variables you can’t control in tennis, your opponent, the bounce, the weather, but your own mind is something that you can learn to control.

Luckily you don’t have to learn to do this on your own, as there are plenty of books out there to help you with the mental side of the game.

One of the most respected of these mental guides is The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey [Amazon] This copy has sold the best part of 1,000,00 copies in its time and has helped thousands of tennis players understand the mental side of the game better.

The quickest way to start winning tennis matches, and enjoying tennis more, is by maximizing your mental ability on the court. The chances are that in the majority of the matches you play, your opponent and you are very evenly matched when it comes to tennis ability. If you tally up both player's total points won in a normal match, they are going to be very, very close, so what matters most is winning the key points.

This is where understanding the mental side of the game is absolutely key, and The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance comes in.

This book is a must-read for any tennis enthusiast, and the results you can achieve by successfully utilizing the techniques in this book will amaze you.

Help your friends become the tennis players they want to be faster with this great tennis gift!

Absolute Tennis: The Best and Next Way to Play the Game by Marty Smith [Amazon]



If you’re one of those rare people who is cool as a cucumber on the tennis court and plays the big points like a hero, then perhaps you might need a little help with technique instead.

Your tennis game is constantly evolving, no matter how good you are, and there are always areas where you can improve your technique. Roger Federer, quite probably the greatest player of all time, just goes to show that you need to adapt to survive. Federer has won 20 career Grand Slams, but between Wimbledon 2012 and the Australian Open 2017 he didn’t win any Grand Slam titles.

Federer had to adapt his game, both tactically, and technically. It’s most likely that you or someone you know will constantly have to do the same thing if you want to keep improving and winning.

Once again though, you don’t have to do this on your own, luckily, there are plenty of options out there to help you out with this. There are quite a lot of options in this area, but we really like Absolute Tennis: The Best and Next Way to Play Tennis by Marty Smith. [Amazon]

Smith is a former NCAA Div 1 Southern Conference Champion who now serves as the Director of Tennis at New York Athletic Club, so he is certainly well qualified. What we loved about this book is the detail with which it presents all of its case studies, and it keeps things interesting by showing you how pros utilize these techniques to enhance their games.

One particularly interesting aspect of this book is Smith’s views on how strokes will develop in the future, something that is food for thought, all though we’re a little dubious as to the validity of some of these claims about the future of tennis technique.

Nevertheless, Absolute Tennis: The Best and Next Way to Play Tennis is an excellent guide for tennis technique, and its in-depth analysis makes improving on the tennis court easy. We think this is an excellent guide and would make an excellent tennis gift.

It’s Not My Fault: 150 Hilarious Excuses Every Tennis Player Should Know by Joshua Shifrin [Amazon]



My brother once came off court after a loss and said “he was just too good”, I was a bit baffled, and reminded him “you had four match points and chip charged off everyone - and you’re the worst volleyer I know”. Sometimes you’ve just got to make yourself feel better, and that's where our last tennis gift comes in.


It’s Not My Fault: 150 Hillarious Excuses Every Tennis Player Should Know [Amazon] is a hilarious and lighthearted take on everything tennis that is a surefire hit with any tennis fan. We loved reading through these excuses and it really brought back some memories.


If you’ve got a tennis-loving friend then why not provide them with 150 perfect excuses for when you beat him this Christmas!



Whatever you’re looking to learn on the tennis court, there are plenty of books that can give you a helping hand. We love the ones we’ve picked out, but have a look around and you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for.

These guides aren’t a substitute for a professional coach, but they can certainly make a big difference to your game without investing too much money.

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