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Open - An Autobiography by Andre Agassi Books in Review
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Open - An Autobiography
by Andre Agassi
A.A. Knopf
ISBN 978-0-307-26819-8
Published November 2009 - Hardcover - 392 pages - $28.95

Andre Agassi.  Those two names say it all when it comes to tennis.  His name is synonymous with greatness, control, dedication, adventure, daring, dominance, outrageousness, and more, both on and off the court.  What to us, his adoring fans, looks just a little nerve-racking in a tightly contested match, couldn't be closer to the truth.  Just reading his prep work for his last match, was exhausting, and I now have even more respect for this phenomenal champion.  I've watched Agassi since he first turned up on the tennis circuit; watched, cheered, whole-heartedly supported his outrageouness, and felt privileged to have watched in person many matches, and even more on television.  Always a thrill, win or lose.  The media had a field day with this eccentric player, and so we thought we'd heard and seen it all.  Wrong.  In his autobiography, Agassi tells it like it is (and was), and for the first time we get to the bottom of his whole story.  He starts off relating his final match (exhausting), and then goes on to tell how his father forced him to play tennis, returning balls shot from a machine around the age of seven at their home in Las Vegas.  His young life wasn't easy, and it's difficult to comprehend his father's thinking (his motives, yes), by pushing his young son so hard.  His father was hard and relentless with Andre, for good or bad.  The story of how a sixteen-year-old Andre turned pro, started touring, started winning (and losing), how his hair started thinning, his signature denim shorts, his loves and hates (conformity) unfolds rapidly, and we learn that for the most part, the Andre Agassi we "knew" is not the real Andre Agassi.  For me, there was much to his man than what was sprouted in the media following the release of this book — much more.  I wish they'd concentrate on more serious issues.  We can relive many of his memorable and some not-so-memorable matches in his book because of his photographic memory.  The hard work and training, both physical and mental that goes on is incredible.  Hard to imagine top athletes have to go through so much.  I loved reading about the build-up to many of his matches I not only watched, but can fondly recall, media hype and everything.  Agassi also tells us about his private life — thank you for sharing.  Weirdly, I've met both Andre and Steffi Graf, as she was then.  He as a wild-haired newcomer at the Queen's Club in London in 1986 and Steffi at Brighton where we sat next to each other and traded the odd comment while watching a match.  I adore this man (and have cheered for his wife), what he's done for the game of tennis, and now, what he's doing for others.  He fills my heart with joy and I am honored to have witnessed his career.
Visit the Andre Agassi Foundation's website.
Conclusion - Thank you for sharing your story with the world, the honesty, warts and all.  You really vorked your wolleys for us all.  An action-packed life if ever I came across one, and I strongly recommend every tennis fan to read this book.

book cover

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.

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