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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

May 09, 1993|KAREN STABINER

LADIES OF THE COURT by Michael Mewshaw (Crown: $22; 327 pp. ). Women's tennis has yet to achieve parity with the men's professional tour. Women earn less, both in terms of prize money and endorsements--and, according to Michael Mewshaw, author of a 1983 study of the men's circuit, they pay a higher price. Mewshaw watched the women's tour for signs of trouble, and while he had difficulty nailing down numbers and getting people to speak for attribution, he insists that there is trouble aplenty, from sexual abuse of vulnerable women players by their male coaches, to parental abuse from moms and dads who have too much invested in their daughters, both financially and emotionally, to tolerate anything but success. Some of his writing has an uncomfortably sensationalistic air to it, as though he were determined to push his sad point until it felt true; he is better when he does what he did with "Short Circuit," his book about the men's tour, providing anecdotal glimpses of a high-stress sport where catastrophe is as close as an ankle sprain or a pretty competitor who catches a sports agent's eye.

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