Author(s): Will Swanton
Three of the greatest players in history: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal. Three of the most famous athletes on the planet. Four tournaments: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. The stakes are impossibly high. Djokovic is the world No.1. A survivor of war-torn Serbia has done the impossible by pushing Federer and Nadal from the peak. Now he must stay there. 'I believe,' he says. 'I just believe that I can win.' Serbia's president describes Djokovic as the most prominent Serb on Earth. TIME magazine lists him above US president Barak Obama in its Top 100 Most Influential People In The World. He hurtles towards sporting immortality as the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four slams consecutively - until one telephone call and family tragedy makes his world cave in. Federer is the most revered and successful player of all time but Djokovic and Nadal are hurting his legacy. Ten years since the death of his most important coach, two barren years since he last won a slam, Federer dusts himself off for what could be the last serious charge of his career. Legends of the game accuse him of lacking the courage to repel the fearless younger brigade. One more slam is required to confirm his status as the finest player to ever draw breath. Nadal wrestles insecurities and career-threatening injuries to cram in as many slams as possible in case his body breaks down and he is forced into the premature retirement he dreads. His mantra is simple: 'Enjoy the pain.' Lurking in the background is Andy Murray, a survivor of the Dunblane Massacre, desperate for a Slam triumph to exorcise the demons of past failures. Great expectations accompany these men into every major championship. Expectations are exceeded. This is a year like no other. The Slams goes behind closed doors to reveal the rivalries, feuds, personal tragedies and blinding excitement of the most ruthless and riveting era in the history of men's professional tennis.
Will Swanton has been an award-winning sports writer for 15 years. He's written for The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph newspapers and received the Australian Sports Commission's prize for the best contribution to the coverage of sport by an individual. He's twice featured in The Best Australian Sportswriting compilations and been published by The New York Times. Having travelled extensively to report on the Olympics, Australia's Test and World Cup cricket campaigns, Test and State of Origin rugby league and the Association of Surfing Professionals world championship tour, Swanton has spent the last year on the trail of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for his sixth book, The Slams.