From Andre Agassi, one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court, a beautiful, haunting autobiography.
Agassi’s incredibly rigorous training begins when he is just a child. By the age of thirteen, he is banished to a Florida tennis camp that feels like a prison camp. Lonely, scared, a ninth-grade dropout, he rebels in ways that will soon make him a 1980s icon. He dyes his hair, pierces his ears, dresses like a punk rocker. By the time he turns pro at sixteen, his new look promises to change tennis forever, as does his lightning-fast return.
And yet, despite his raw talent, he struggles early on. We feel his confusion as he loses to the world’s best, his greater confusion as he starts to win. After stumbling in three Grand Slam finals, Agassi shocks the world, and himself, by capturing the 1992 Wimbledon. Overnight he becomes a fan favorite and a media target.
Agassi brings a near-photographic memory to every pivotal match and every relationship. Never before has the inner game of tennis and the outer game of fame been so precisely limned. Alongside vivid portraits of rivals from several generations—Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer—Agassi gives unstinting accounts of his brief time with Barbra Streisand and his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields. He reveals a shattering loss of confidence. And he recounts his spectacular resurrection, a comeback climaxing with his epic run at the 1999 French Open and his march to become the oldest man ever ranked number one.
In clear, taut prose, Agassi evokes his loyal brother, his wise coach, his gentle trainer, all the people who help him regain his balance and find love at last with Stefanie Graf. Inspired by her quiet strength, he fights through crippling pain from a deteriorating spine to remain a dangerous opponent in the twenty-first and final year of his career. Entering his last tournament in 2006, he’s hailed for completing a stunning metamorphosis, from nonconformist to elder statesman, from dropout to education advocate. And still he’s not done. At a U.S. Open for the ages, he makes a courageous last stand, then delivers one of the most stirring farewells ever heard in a sporting arena.
With its breakneck tempo and raw candor, Open will be read and cherished for years. A treat for ardent fans, it will also captivate readers who know nothing about tennis. Like Agassi’s game, it sets a new standard for grace, style, speed, and power.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Tennis legend Andre Agassi spares no one in his lacerating memoir, least of all himself. In near-photographic detail, he recounts his difficult childhood under a domineering father, the dream and dissolution of his marriage to Brooke Shields, and his mental and physical battles on the way to becoming the oldest top-ranked male tennis player in history. (BTW, he says he's always hated tennis.) Actor Erik Davies' driven, intense delivery gives us a sense of the seemingly nonstop internal dialogue playing out in Agassi's head.
I read this book in 4 days. I wanted to read it even faster, but the powerful memories, lowest lows and highest highs made me stop and think. I couldn't read it any faster.
When I was about halfway through the book, I was troubled. In reading of the first part of his life, I had lost a great deal of respect for him. He seemed like a rebellious, troubled, egotistical young man.
However, throughout the rest of the book, he shows how he discovers himself, how he grows from the rebellious, lost, struggling teenager to a loving father and husband. I now hold a great deal of respect for the man. It takes guts to admit lying about a crystal meth addiction and in various interviews.
It seems that people are giving him a hard time about things he said about other players, his father, and Brooke. If it's true, it's not slander. Maybe Pete will be more generous now. Maybe parents will be convinced not to try to live their own, selfish dreams through their kids. As far as I know, Andre is prepared to handle the backlash from the book. As Gil says "It's on."
Sad, Humorous and Inspirational
Absolutely fascinating! I could not put the book down. As a parent you feel tremendous compassion for Andre as a child and yet some of his family stories are hilarious and sad. Don’t underestimate his level of dark humor over some of these situations. I found his honesty about the tour and his mistakes as well as what was going on internally to be refreshing and completely believable. As a teaching professional I think this should be required reading for all parents of kids who play tournament tennis! This book will leave you laughing, crying and inspired.
I disagree with the 1 star review
Andre was brutally honest. Face it most of the grand slam players had huge egos and are not "nice".I remember meeting McEroe at his peak and he matched the comments Andre makes about Connors. If you ever played the game "seriously" competitive like I did you will understand everything from Andres Dad to the opponents attitudes.
To be a great you had to have that edge you couldn't be buddies with opponents!
Also Agassi was NOT a rebel did you not hear what he was saying ??! I recommend the guy who thought he was go back and re-read or listen ! You are correct though Andre did grow significantly . I wasn't a huge fan back in the day but this brought back a ton of memories having grown up playing competitively in Florida and playing against some of the Super Brats. Every time I drive by Boliteris I have both good and bitter memories of Tennis. A game I hated just like Andre did but certainly not at his level of play.
Excellent book but a better reader would have made it even better!