Getting a Grip, By Monica Seles

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The Independent Culture

More chuntering about girlie grunting at Wimbledon this year but the player who first broke the sound barrier, Monica Seles, shows in this confessional memoir that she can string words together as well.

While today's women treat the No 1 spot like pass the parcel, it's easy to forget how dominant the gawky young Serb was – eight Grand Slams in four years – before she was stabbed by a crazed spectator in 1993. She was only 19 and the attack, coupled with the death of her father, sent her into a spiral of secret comfort-eating.

She never regained her consistency and at her last major hurrah, the Australian Open in 1996, all she could think of after winning was a spectator saying: "She looks huge!" In parts this reads like a self-help manual – appropriately since Seles admits to having shelves full of them – but it is a chronicle of loneliness and broken relationships too.

In retirement Seles has slimmed down and seems to have conquered her demons, but she could be forgiven for thinking how much better it all could have been.

Published in hardback by JR Books, £16.99

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