With some indie mags it can take a while to bed in, to understand what they are all about and fathom their DNA. Not so with Racquet. It’s obviously about tennis and yet it is also not about tennis (which is a good thing).
I happen to like tennis and enjoy a good tennis memoir and reportage but I’m not an aficionado, I don’t have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the professional game. The editor and writers of Racquet clearly are and do but they rarely show this off, instead focusing on the two elements that make great magazines; the pictures and the writing.
Right from the off you know they are going to come at tennis from any angle they fancy. The inside covers feature a picture of the shower curtain at the pool room of the Van Patten’s. It’s a teaser for their top billing feature on the tennis-playing, film-acting LA family of cover star brothers that, as Racquet puts it ‘in the ’70s and ’80s, obliterated the line between Hollywood and tennis’. The infamous pool house was where the youngest and most ambitious Van Patten, Vince, dated Charlie’s Angel Farrah Fawcett when he was underage and she was still married to Lee Majors, the Six-million Dollar Man. I mean come on, this is a great story, and is well told, whether you give a ball toss about tennis or not.
But to get back to the game; there’s an elegant blend of modern and memory, there’s off-court politics and on-court drama. And some from-the-heart interviews with players that make a refreshing change from anything that’s served by the PR minded, media-trained, sponsor-aware pro of today. The magazine is clever and specifically fascinating and I’m consciously trying to avoid concluding with a tennis pun or play on words because that’s something Racquet would never do. But I did love-all of it.
Lisa Sykes read Issue 15 of Racquet, edited by David Shaftel, published by Racquet Publishing in New York.