The Tennis Partner

The Tennis Partner

The Tennis Partner is a 1999 novel by Dr. Abraham Verghese, a physician practicing internal medicine in El Paso, Texas. In the autobiographical memoir, Verghese writes of his experience moving to El Paso in the midst of an unraveling marriage. Once there, Verghese becomes mentor to David Smith, a medical student recovering from drug addiction.cite book|last = Verghese|first = Abraham|title = The Tennis Partner| publisher = Harper Perennial|date=October 1, 1999|pages=352 pp|url=|ISBN=0060931132]

As part of his efforts to reach out to the young student physician, Verghese begins to play singles tennis with him outside of the hospital. What starts as a casual game between the two men eventually develops into a complex ritual that allows them to develop a rich understanding of the pressures they each face. In the hospital, Verghese is the teacher and Smith the student. On the court, however, Smith becomes the teacher. [cite web|url=|title=Reading Guide: The Tennis Partner|author=Harper Collins] The novel follows their friendship as Smith battles and eventually succumbs to his disease, despite Verghese's attempts to intervene.

While cited as fiction, The Tennis Partner is heavily autobiographical.


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