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.
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‘engaging, thrilling...a superbly written book’
Michael Atherton, The Times.
Lynne Truss, The Times
‘An ace autobiography’
***** London Lite
"No one ever asked me if I wanted to play tennis," Agassi writes, "let alone make it my life." In OPEN, he recalls for the first time a childhood without choices. Forced to embrace tennis, banished to a brutal tennis camp while still in grade school, catapulted to fame while still in his teens, Agassi grew up feeling isolated, alienated, detached. In OPEN he tells how he reconnected, how he overcame his fears, fought through his loneliness, found strength and purpose in the decision to devote his life to others-and in the love of one extraordinary woman.
Agassi writes with uncommon candor about his father, his family, his best friends and first loves. He recounts the intimate details of his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields. He describes the grind of championship tennis, the physical toll and greater mental toll. He recalls his most painful moments in the arena-humiliating defeats, career-threatening injuries, ridicule from fans and media-but celebrates the maturity to which they all led. He also puts his fellow players, including legendary greats, under the microscope of his astounding memory. With precision and grace he recalls their quirks, gifts, foibles, and the demons with which they often struggled.
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