Book Review: Andre Agassi’s Open

Andre Agassi’s Open is an eye-opener. This autobiography allows you to understand the “Andre” as a tennis athlete and the “Andre” as a person. There is a big difference between the two and I am satisfied that the two sides of Andre are clearly presented in the book.

*The Good*

The  approach of delivery is friendly: There’s no need to be a die-hard fan to read this book. Anyone can relate with the story. Every page and every chapter has a moment to tell. It feels like watching a series of events chained together in 386-pages creating a blockbuster film.

Open is filled with substance: This is the first autobiography of a tennis player I’ve read and it allows me to see how hungry Andre was just to get at to the top of his game. Despite all the the trials and roadblocks, Andre remains to be a survivor. He is a real fighter.

If you’ll read this book from start till end and word for word, from the disturbing experiences he has suffered under his father’s watch to the heartaches of a man searching for clear answers, you’ll realize Andre is absolutely the “someone” to look up to.

Andre seeks for inner satisfaction in the face of triumphs (win 4 Grand Slams + Olympic Games + surviving a five-setter against a top ten player before retirement), fame and money.

Open is unforgettable: While reading Open, I realize that Andre is not just a competitive counter-puncher, he’s also a  father, a son, a friend, a husband and a philanthropist. Andre is not perfect (he even hates tennis even if he’s winning a lot of matches) but a person to be remembered. His hatred for tennis is understandable and this is probably due to the association he creates in his mind that tennis is his dictator-like father.

Truth is, there is no need for you to experience what he all went through. While reading the book, it’s important to be open-minded and to think maturely. Just follow what’s “good” in Andre and learn something worthwhile from the “bad.”

My Top 5 Unforgettable Moments in Open

1) When Andre was practicing with Steffi Graf in preparation for Key Biscayne. He calls Steffi’s forehand a foreplay.

2) When Andre destroyed all his trophies after his fight with Brooke Shields.

3) When Andre played his first match with Pete Sampras in US OPEN 1990.

4) When Andre won a five-set thriller over Marcos Bagdhadis in US OPEN (second round) before his retirement.

5) When Andre met Gil Reyes.

*The Bad*

No quotation marks: I wonder why the editing team of the book don’t use quotation marks to emphasize the juicy conversations. That’s okay though, the absence of quotation marks does not destroy the overall quality of the book. I still have a fantastic time reading the entire book. I laugh and I can’t stop feeling the agony at the same time.

Here are my favorite insights in Open: (Some are sad but it’s still worth pondering on)

“… if tennis is life, then what follows tennis must be the unknowable void.”

“Tennis uses the language of life.”

“… every match is a life in miniature.”

“Tennis is the sport in which you talk to yourself.”

“In tennis, you’re on an island… the closest to solitary confinement.”

“Life is a tennis match in polar opposites. Winning and losing, love and hate, open and closed. It helps you to recognize the painful fact early.”

Next in line: I look forward reading Pete Sampras’ A Champion’s Mind 🙂

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