Written by: Andre Agassi
Rating: * * * *
It was my first attempt at reading an autobiography. I was somehow never inspired enough to read one before. I regret it.
He described what it’s like to be good at only one thing and to hate that thing. Starting from when he was a kid, to a teenager, to a bald young man, to a father, to one great player; the journey is exhausting.
I picked up this book as my first autobiography because I like tennis. I played tennis for around 7-8 years and almost loved every moment of it. I don’t know why I stopped. I really don’t remember. It’s been a long time.
Secondly, my brother, who recently started reading (finally bro, FINALLY) recommended it.
And thirdly, there’s a fond memory I have with this book. When I was in class 5, we had a General Knowledge book containing some information on everything. One of the topics was ‘Books and their Authors’; I remember reading the name of Open and the description of its author, Andre Agassi and his wife, Steffi Graf. I had heard both the names in tennis and thus, could easily remember it till my exam. It’s stupid, but I still remember it. I don’t remember any of the other books.
I never thought a book on a tennis player could be so engaging and inspiring. He faced a lot of troubles, thought about giving up, maybe gave up too, but came back. With a bang so loud that it would put all of us’ hard work to shame.
Reading Open was more than fun. Mostly because I read it hiding from my parents because my exams were going on. It’s hard to explain to them that you need a break from work and read for pleasure. But I succeeded :p
This book was not fiction, it was so much better.
The writing was splendid. Although it’s not completely an autobiography since it was co-written by J.R. Moehringer, but you have to appreciate Agassi for it as well.
‘Pressure is how you know everything’s working’
“It’s no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature. Even the structure of tennis, the way the pieces fit inside one another like Russian nesting dolls, mimics the structure of our days. Points become games become sets become tournaments, and it’s all so tightly connected that any point can become the turning point. It reminds me of the way seconds become minutes become hours, and any hour can be our finest. Or darkest. It’s our choice.”
“Hey! What the—? Perry, are you kidding? Your mom drives a Rolls? Are you—rich?
I guess so.
Why didn’t you tell me?
You never asked.
For me, that’s the definition of being rich: it doesn’t cross your mind to mention it to your best friend. And money is such a given you don’t care how you come by it.”
” To be inspired, I tell Philly—that’s the secret.”
” The next six months will tell. To which of us does that dire statement not apply?”
“Someone says later that I sounded as if I’d had a near-death experience. More like a near-life experience. It’s how a person talks when he almost didn’t live.”
“No matter what your life is, choosing it changes everything.”
And in the Acknowledgements, the very last line of this book: ” I was late in discovering the magic of books. Of all my many mistakes that I want my children to avoid, I put that one near the top of the list.”
One thing I especially loved was how the dialogues were not written in apostrophes but simply as another line. It worked because there were not as many dialogues as a fiction; otherwise, it would have been confusing.
I am glad I chose this as my first autobiography. More coming soon! (Rafa, Richard Branson, Milkha Singh) I can’t wait!