Imagine that from an early age your dad pushed you to do nothing but play tennis. Everyday for hours upon hours, trying to make you the best player ever. In Douglas Brunt’s new book Trophy Son (St. Martin’s Press; out Tuesday, May 30) you follow young Anton Stratis do just this.
Anton’s mom and dad were both athletes who won many competitions in their day and even went to the Olympics (neither won a medal but were expected to). From an early age Anton was on the tennis court learning and practicing the game. Day in and day out. His father was brutal, over-bearing (and occasionally violent). He wanted the best for his son. Anton wasn’t allowed to do much (thank goodness for his older brother who would have his back and sneak him out on occasion). With hardly any friends or social skills it was all about tennis.
He even left school early just to play tennis. He was soon playing small tournaments around the country and making a name for himself. He still had to deal with his dad. If he lost a match there was hell to pay. Soon he got a coach and trainer and as he grew older his dad backed off until he finally told him he didn’t need him anymore.
But something was missing with Anton. A loneliness that was hard to shake. He soon joined the men’s tour and really made a name for himself, becoming number one and winning a Major Championship. He met an actress Ana he really liked but it didn’t seem to work out. More tennis day in and out. His trainer soon had him on steroids in pill form. Anton was strong and winning and losing.
Soon Ana re-entered the picture and his tennis career was in potential trouble being caught with a positive drug test. Anton soon re-evaluates his career and life and comes to some decisions on his future.
An interest look at one person’s life from an early age. It asks the questions can a father go to far in pushing his child? Was he thinking about himself and what he didn’t have anymore as a former athlete?
It’s a compelling look at these questions and what life as a famous tennis player is like. The travel, the pain, the loneliness and looking for love. The life of an athlete is tough and Douglas has done a good job looking at it. In the notes at the end of the book he mentions talking to actual big name tennis players, so there’s an authenticity to what he writes about.