Thursday, September 25, 2008

David Foster Wallace and Michael Joyce

In a memorable 1996 Esquire magazine article, the late David Foster Wallace profiled tennis player Michael Joyce's attempt to qualify for a spot in the main draw of the 1995 Canadian Open, in the context of a broader portrait of the sport and its players.

The story gained a wider audience after a longer version was included in Wallace's now-classic essay collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. It was so well written, so insightful, so flat-out excellent that it's burned into the brains of David Foster Wallace fans and tennis fans alike (and, a fortiori, those of us who love both).

In a small coda to the end of Wallace's life, Tennis Week magazine has interviewed Michael Joyce about David Foster Wallace, found here.

Update: Today is Friday, October 10, 2008. For reasons unclear to me, all kinds of people are googling their way here to read this blog entry (by searching "david foster wallace michael joyce" and its variants). Was there something in the press today about DFW and Michael Joyce? I'm curious. Could someone please email me (benj23 [at] and explain why Wallace/Joyce is such a hot topic today? Thanks.

Update update: Thanks to everyone who emailed or comment-posted the explanation that ESPN's Bill Simmons cited DFW's Michael Joyce article as one of the best pieces of sportswriting ever.


CyLowe said...

Thanks for the link to the Joyce interview. As a tennis wannabe in my late 80s teenage years, the Esquire article rekindled my interest in the game in the mid 90s.

"Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley" was a part of that, too.

Good stuff.

Anonymous said...'s widely read writer Bill Simmons made reference to the Wallace/Joyce piece in his column today.