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Hardcover Open: An Autobiography Book

ISBN: 0307268195

ISBN13: 9780307268198

Open: An Autobiography

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

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...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings


I have never followed tennis and only vaguely heard of Andre Agassi, but after countless recommendations, I read it. It was worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of a man who struggled and found success through hard work and perseverance.

What an eye opening biography!

A friend passed along the name of this book when we were watching the US Open in 2019. As a teen, I was a huge fan of Agassi. His toughness, rebellion, rugged looks, anarchist tennis attire, winning attitude and determination, etc. was exciting to watch. Little did I know the situations in his life that made him the competitor and man he is. Such an honest and “open” look into the most personal parts of his life. If you’re a tennis fan, especially in his era, it’s a must read. Whether you liked him or not...If you’re not, but enjoy biographical writing, it will still be entertaining and thought-provoking.

One of the best autobiographies I've read

Most autobiographies, especially sports autobiographies, are just a chronological series of events with insight into each event. It's usually not new insight and is mostly just filled with platitudes and cliches that the author already gave in press conferences. There are always a few interesting tidbits in each of these autobiographies, and reading a bullet point summary of those tidbits in an online review is just as good as reading the actual book. Agassi's autobiography is more like a novel. You read it and think it would make a phenomenal movie, the way it starts at the very end and then flashbacks to the beginning. You can't just read about the revelations in some online review and think you've gotten everything out of this book. This is a book that needs to be read front to back. It's superbly written -- not by Agassi himself, as he never had the education to pull that off, but he did spend thousands of hours on it and as a longtime fan I know that this is his authentic voice. In a recent interview, Andre expanded on why he and Pete Sampras were opposites by saying that when they saw each other in October 2009, Andre realized that Sampras had also just released an autobiography and tried to start a conversation by mentioning how he was so glad how his turned out, and how many thousands of hours of sweat and tears he put into it. He said that Sampras just looked at him like he was crazy. Sampras felt that an autobiography was just an encyclopedic sort of thing, not a cathartic baring of the soul. When you compare their books, it shows. Another thing that separates this book is Agassi's remarkable memory. Agassi has always been known as one of the best analysts of the sport, and has always astounded the press with his point-by-point recollection of matches that had taken place decades before. After I play a recreational tennis match, I can barely remember the points I just played. You could ask Agassi about a point he played in 1988 and he'd be able to tell you what was going through his head, how fast the serve came at him, the sequence of shots, what someone in the crowd shouted out, what the temperature was, the humidity, the wind speed. He mentions in the book how he seems to notice the most trivial things, and once he notices them they forever stay in his mind. I'm sure if his memory was somehow measured, it would be found to be in the very upper tier in the populace. This combined with his deep, empathetic ability to notice and understand human behavior creates a truly astounding read. It is rare to find an athlete as intelligent as Agassi, and if his father hadn't been so anti-education, I believe he could have had a brilliant academic career and flourished in some intellectual field. Perhaps psychology. Sports psychology would have been an easy fit, certainly! You don't have to be a tennis fan to enjoy this book, although you will certainly get a little bit more out of it. Similarly, a sports fan will be able to get more of it th

Inspiring - Must Read

We have all read the press and watched the news; the drug allegations, the "I hate tennis". Tennis fans aren't quite sure whether they should feel cheated for all the love and support they have given Andre, to me the book set things straight. Most of us look back at chapters of our lives and can identify with particularly unhappy periods. Andre kicks off the book with what was going through his head with the match against Baghdatis in the 2006 US Open. It is a blow by blow account of key parts of the match and a thought provoking glimpse into the mind and heart of a tennis player. He then goes straight into his childhood, the discomfort and unhappiness of being the child prodigy son of an obsessive father. There are weirdly honest stories - his grandmother tried to breastfeed him, very disturbing but a revelation of a dysfunctional upbringing. What seems to carry Andre through his childhood are friendships with his brother Phil and Perry who later becomes his manager. The importance of the childhood friendships are critical and from the way they are explained it is easy to understand why these friends are crucial figures for Andre. The critical friendship is that of his mentor/guide/life coach/surrogate father Gill Reyes. Andre is taken under his wing and treated with the love and respect a father should treat his son, you sense through the stories in the book that now they have met each other neither could really exist happily without the other. His marriage with Brooke Shields is dealt with candidly, many will buy this book to find out what celebrities do behind closed doors. Whereas I did think Brooke appeared superficial from some of the things mentioned here, I think it merely shows how fame affects people differently. It appears that fame as a child makes people so perception orientated that perceptions are more important than anything else - who can judge the pressures these guys live through? Perfectly understandable in my opinion. The drugs issue is dealt with here but only for a few pages in the book. The very weird thing is it doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Like most fans I was shocked and somewhat critical of the damage to his sport. But, I could understand after reading the book how stupid mistakes can be made. Off the book for a second truth is he wouldn't have got the endorsements for 10's of millions had he been suspended, or there would have been a clause in his existing deals that he would have broken had the allegations come out. However, reading the book and seeing what has been done with the money I can't help but feel it was better for everyone that nothing came out at the time. Andre talks about his attraction to Stefanie from many years back, the courting process is just the same as you or I. We all have been through that 'has the phone just rung?' depression when expecting a call from someone we are interested in. It does feel almost story like the way they end up together, but we all have a story like this just

The Best Sports Biography Ever

How many of us grow up conflicted and angry with ourselves and our lives? How can we love our parents on one hand and hate them on the other? How many of us would have given their eye teeth to have the talent of a world class athlete, the fame, the adulation? Reading OPEN, the new autobiography by Andre Agassi, brought back so many of the painful emotions I felt growing up. Not that I had the gift that Andre has, but I can certainly relate to much of the anger and frustration that he so bluntly and eloquently describes in this brilliant book. One moment, among many in the book, stands out for me. It is the day he goes with his father to buy a new Corvette after winning a tournament in South America. His father, a tortured and volcanic man, turns the experience into a nightmare by his terrorist negotiating tactics. Andre is both humiliated by his father's actions while secretly admiring the man's rage and confidence. If only he could employ that kind of emotional energy on the court to conqueror his opponents, he thinks to himself. Approach, avoidance. Attraction, rejection. It's a constant battle in his mind. In his career. In his life. A life that has been explored and explained for us in a book unlike any other I've ever read. Tennis fan or not, you must read OPEN.

Image Is Everything

Andre Agassi has written a 'tell-all' book about his life in tennis. And, it turns out, he hated tennis. That was a bigger shocker to me than the salacious fact that he was on 'crystal meth'for a period of time. J.R. Moehringer, the author of 'A Tender Bar' and a Pulitzer Prize winner for his writing was a co-author of this autobiography. Andre loved Moehringer's writing in 'The Tender Bar', and he is correct, the man's writing and the book are excellent. This book, too, is very well written and is an exceptional read. Andre tells us that he started playing tennis at the age of 3 and by the age of 5 he was showing an aptitude for the game. He was pushed by his father-an obsessive man who pushed his son too far and too much. In fact his father felt that education was not necessary and a hindrance to his tennis practice. Andre could never tell his father how much he hated the game because it was Andre's responsibility to help his family, and that is what he did. He left school in the ninth grade, something that has bothered him his entire career. His goal was to achieve in tennis. He was enrolled in the Bollettien tennis camp, but it felt more like a prison than a camp. The academy, in Agassi's words, was "Lord of the Flies with forehands." In retaliation Andre started wearing earrings, grew his hair long and wore loud clothes. Thus his reputation was born. As his career started to flourish, Andre, tried to keep it all together. He was known as the flamboyant player, the real player. He played the best tennis players in the world, and he was one of the best. He had an eye for the ball, and the 'tell' of players when they were about to hit the big one. Andre Agassi talks about his rivals, the ones who were boring, the ones who kept it all together and the the real players; Pete Sampras, Boris Becker and Jimmy Connors The book is at its best when the game of tennis is being discussed. Each play during the tournaments and how he figured out how to win. He talks of his marriage to Brooke Shields, he never really wanted to be married, just like he never really liked to play tennis. His crystal meth years, the spiel he gave the Tennis Association when he tested positive for drugs. He finally met and married Steffi Graf and found the happiness that had so long eluded him. He has built a life and a foundation that sponsors a charter school. He gave the first graduation speech and wowed the crowd. A ninth grade drop-out he has achieved success and fame. He has found his life and he has become Open. For anyone who loves tennis, this is a book that will be a fascinating look at the life of a giant in the tennis world and told in words that best describes him. He finally lives down his famous words 'Image Is Everything'. Highly Recommended. prisrob 11-09-09 The Tender Bar
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