Former professional tennis player Cliff Richey and his daughter Hillaire Richey Kallendorf, Ph.D. wrote a book exploring both Cliff’s tennis career and lifelong battle with depression. I am writing this review in two parts because it is a topic that deserves full focus. There are aspects of this book that while fascinating or unique do not contribute to the main topic. Part one will deal with other aspects of this book while part two which will come out later this week will deal with the topic of depression.
First, Aceing Depression book is written in a conversational style. I like that style, but a reader may want to be aware that it reads as though it is an edited version of verbal transcripts. Second, Cliff Richey does not tell this story in chronological order. One chapter may cover years or events discussed in a previous chapter from a different lens. Again, I enjoy the book, but it is not going to be a simple A. then B. then C. reflection on events.
Insights on the Amateur Tour and Early Open Era Tour
Fans of tennis history will enjoy glimpses at what tennis was like in a period of transition. Cliff Richey makes it clear that he and his family were compensated under the table during the amateur era of tennis in which professionals were barred from the most prestigious events. He also notes that some country clubs that used to hold invitationals in the amateur era that excluded African-American players moved player locker rooms to the pool lockers once Arthur Ashe and others were allowed to play these events in the Open Era. Richey was friends with Ashe and objected to the racism Ashe faced in the US.
These anecdotes gave me a better sense of the economic life of the best tennis players in the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Richey also gave insights into the social world of the early Open Era. Still, the main text deals with Richey’s upbringing, various obstacles he and his then-wife faced, and his on-going battle with depression. Part 2 will deal with the seeds and presence of depression seen in a childhood Cliff referred to as Richey, Inc., in his time on tour, and in his post-professional tennis life.
Here is a Review from Psychology Today