He is one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court - but from early childhood Andre Agassi hated the game.
Coaxed to swing a racket while still in the crib, forced to hit hundreds of balls a day while still in grade school, Agassi resented the constant pressure even as he drove himself to become a prodigy, an inner conflict that would define him.
Now, in his beautiful, haunting autobiography, Agassi tells the story of a life framed by such conflicts.
Agassi makes us feel his panic as an undersized seven-year-old in Las Vegas, practicing all day under the obsessive gaze of his violent father.
We see him at thirteen, banished to a Florida tennis camp.
Lonely, scared, a ninth-grade dropout, he rebels in ways that will soon make him a 1980s icon.
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 public relationship.
Alongside vivid portraits of rivals, Agassi gives unstinting accounts of his brief time with Barbra Streisand and his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields.
He reveals the depression that shatters his confidence, and the mistake that nearly costs him everything.
Finally, he recounts his spectacular resurrection 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.
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.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages, Illustrations
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 10/08/2010
- Category: Autobiography: sport
- ISBN: 9780007281435
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Review by stuster
What a sensational memoir! This book kept me awake for hours with its gripping tale of Agassi's path to manhood and wisdom. His journey was played out on the tennis court, but the lessons can be applied universally to all men as we grow up, seeking our identity and discovering ourselves and the world. The story was particularly poignant for me, as it tracked the period in my life during which I began following tennis as a boy; an interest which grew quickly into a great passion. The quality of writing is outstanding, with Agassi's Pulitzer Prize-winning ghostwriter, J.R. Moehringer, taking the reader so close to the action, the emotion, the ups and downs, that I felt like I was there, re-living every moment. And for many of those moments I was there, up late at night through the 1990s and early 2000s, glued to the TV watching this incredible talent win and lose. I learned that my own impression of the young Agassi (ostentatious, arrogant, disrespectful) was completely wrong. Of course it was: how can we know someone by seeing them on TV? He was a precocious talent finding his way in a confusing world, not trying to "be" anything other than himself. The book ends with the wonderful tale of his joy in finding lifelong love and subsequent fatherhood: the most amazing experiences of all, to which new fathers (and likely old ones as well) will strongly relate. This is a magnificent tale which must surely rank as one of the great sporting memoirs.