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Open: An Autobiography Paperback – August 10, 2010
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Agassi has always had a tortured look in his eyes on the tennis court. In 1992, when he burst onto the world sports stage by winning the Grand Slam at Wimbledon, he looked like a deer in headlights. Nobody seemed more surprised and upset by his big win that day than he did. For good reason, too. Agassi hated tennis. This is the biggest revelation in his very revealing autobiography. Agassi has hated tennis from early childhood, finding it extremely lonely out on the court. But he didn’t have a choice about playing the game because his father drove him to become a champion, like it or not. Mike Agassi, a former Golden Gloves fighter who never made it professionally, decided that his son would become a champion tennis player. In militaristic fashion, Mike pushed seven-year-old Andre to practice relentlessly until the young boy was exhausted and in pain. He also arranged for Andre, age 13, to attend a tennis camp where he was expected to pull weeds and clean toilets. The culmination of all of this parental pushing came when Andre began winning as an adult. But it didn’t make him happy. Within this framework, Agassi’s other disclosures make sense. He had a troubled marriage to Brooke Shields that didn’t last. He developed a drug problem that sabotaged his career. He was insecure about everything. Only when Andre met tennis star Steffi Graf (whom he eventually married) did things begin to change. Readers will definitely cheer when Andre finally makes peace with the game he once hated and learns to enjoy it. --Jerry Eberle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A New York Times Notable Book and a Forbes, San Francisco Chronicle, and Washington Post Best Book of the Year
“Agassi may have just penned one of the best sports autobiographies of all time. Check—it’s one of the better memoirs out there, period. . . . An unvarnished, at times inspiring story [told] in an arresting, muscular style. . . . Agassi’s memoir is just as entrancing as his tennis game.”
“Fascinating. . . . Inspiring. . . . Open describes Agassi’s personal odyssey with brio and unvarnished candor. . . . [Agassi’s] career-comeback tale is inspiring but even more so is another Open storyline. It could be called: The punk grows up. . . . Countless athletes start charitable foundations, but frequently the organizations are just tax shelters or PR stunts. For Agassi helping others has instead become his life’s calling. . . . Open is a superb memoir, but it hardly closes the books on an extraordinary life.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Honest in a way that such books seldom are. . . . An uncommonly well-written sports memoir. . . . Bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily, Agassi’s is one of the most passionately anti-sports books ever written by a superstar athlete.”
—The New York Times
“Not your typical jock-autobio fare. This literate and absorbing book is, as the title baldly states, Agassi’s confessional, a wrenching chronicle of his lifelong search for identity and serenity, on and off the court.”
—Los Angeles Times
“The writing here is exceptional. It is can’t-put-down good.”
“An honest, substantive, insightful autobiography. . . . The bulk of this extraordinary book vividly recounts a lost childhood, a Dickensian adolescence, and a chaotic struggle in adulthood to establish an identity. . . . While not without excitement, Agassi’s comeback to No. 1 is less uplifting than his sheer survival, his emotional resilience, and his good humor in the face of the luckless cards he was often dealt.”
—The Washington Post
“The most revealing, literate, and toes-stompingly honest sports autobiography in history”
—Rick Reilly, ESPN
“Much more than a drug confession—Agassi weaves a fascinating tale of professional tennis and personal adversity. . . . His tale shows that success is measured both on and off the court.”
—New York Post
“Not only has Agassi bared his soul like few professional athletes ever have, he’s done it with a flair and force that most professional writers can’t even pull off.”
“[A] heartfelt memoir . . . Agassi’s style is open, all right, and his book, like so many of his tennis games, is a clear winner.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Hard-won self-knowledge irradiates almost every page of Open. . . . Not just a first-rate sports memoir but a genuine bildungsroman, darkly funny yet also anguished and soulful. It confirms what Agassi’s admirers sensed from the outset, that this showboat . . . was not clamoring for attention but rather conducting a struggle to wrest some semblance of selfhood from the sport that threatened to devour him.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“A riveting and reflective memoir by a man who rose to the top of his sport—despite hating it.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Celebrity tell-alls have rarely been this honest and this interesting.”
“A vivid portrait of the internal battle faced in some measure by every athlete.”
“Articulate. . . . Expertly rendered.”
—The Morning News (Boston)
“Refreshingly candid. . . . This lively, revealing, and entertaining book is certain to roil the tennis world and make a big splash beyond.”
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Top customer reviews
He laid it on the line here and seemed to be honest about his character flaws, including a brief usage of crystal meth. Although I think this was one of the tidbits that was widely trumpeted about this book, there is so much more to both the man and his story. He takes us on a journey of the spirit, and he is indeed a man who is aware of himself and his responsibility to the universe. His relationship with God is "up close and personal" (really, the way it should be), and we watch as he grows both as a tennis player and as a man.
Although he is gentle with those around them, almost making excuses for any of the problems his friends and employees may have had, he is brutally hard on himself, not surprisingly.
Through the stages of his life, we watch as he hates tennis, is his own worst enemy, begins to find himself and when he is comfortable with himself, his game and his life all improve. This was very, very well written and it is one of the better memoirs I've read.
I especially enjoyed the spiritual renaissance that shows him giving back to those around him culminating with his non-profit foundation and his incredible involvement with a school in an at risk area.
Although tennis naturally plays a big part in this book, ultimately, it becomes a metaphor for Andre Agassi's life. I feel honored to have been allowed to see a private and special part of this man's life.
While parts of this seem articulately ghostwritten, the dramatic tournament recollections and rant excerpts therein ring true as coming from the subject as the reader is taken on a competition rollercoaster ride of a tennis rock star for whom the game was a job and play never came easy. Agassi is a drama king who never felt comfortable with life a pro sports figure. And only with the perspective of reminiscence does he value his place in time.
Despite all that he accomplished on the court, the book is rife with second guessing, contrariness and the insecurities of someone who is a fickle spirit not at peace with effete phoniness in the public eye. Top flight tennis spoils were not enough to get him through the night given the pressure and self doubt of a mercurial workmanlike career in which he struggled early and only overachieved in longevity as a late blooming career slammer.
In the end, he measures his success by what it later allowed him to do for others as a philanthropist. His growth and maturity stems from a well matched mate, Steffi Graff, and as the book winds down her effect transforms him from disillusion to contentment. The one cliche that sticks out is that like many other well intentioned charitable celebs, he fails to realize that real education begins after school when you learn to think for yourself.
And then I downloaded a Kindle sample and in a few minutes I have been immediately captured, I needed to read all of it.
I found an amazing story, a fun, sad, captive, well placed, rich narration spanning ask over the eighties and nineties. I literally lived again those days when Agassi and Sampras were playing and battling to show their supremacy, this time not through the sterile eyes of a tv camera, but from the highly involved eyes and mind of Agassi. It was a nice revelation and at the same time good entertainment. I recommend it not only to all who love tennis, but mainly to those who have lived those days and will enjoy a new perspective, and those who are interested into a well written sorry of hard work, friendship, love and evolution of a man born for success.
I could barely put it down. He's kind, he's strong, he's sensitive beyond what I could have imagined....And there are such funny moments I laughed out loud! I love Andre Agassi now....have always been a tennis fan but this gave me new respect for the sport and for HIM. READ IT!! (if you see this, thanks, Andre, for this great book and for all you do at your academy)