Picks and Pans Review: Ladies of the Court

updated 04/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Michael Mewshaw

In his gossipy, partly cautionary quasi-expose of women's pro tennis, Mewshaw hits all the hot buttons: pushy parents, sex with coaches, drugs, money, mindlessness. But much is attributed to "informed sources," and no one names names.

Aside from stress and loneliness, the most striking feature of these young lives is the lack of intellectual stimulation. Most young female tennis pros don't even finish high school. They know only tennis. But if Mew-shaw's subjects are not exactly brain surgeons, his view of them still seems somewhat mean-spirited. He ridicules Monica Seles for being a "motor-mouth" and writes that asking her about her fitness program was tantamount to "lifting the floodgates on the Aswan Dam." Her long answer is nonetheless striking: It shows how unaware she is of her own self-absorption and how much conflict she feels about body imageā€”to be muscular and hard or traditionally feminine.

If much of the book sounds familiar, it's because Mewshaw quotes liberally from press conferences and from other writers. But with images like Jennifer Capriati's father getting her to do sit-ups in her crib, Ladies hits the occasional winner. (Crown, $22)

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