One of the most exciting, interesting, and somewhat controversial tennis players, both on and off the court, of all time was Andre Agassi. So when I bought his autobiography “Open” a couple weeks ago, I expected it to be a very intriguing read. I was not disappointed.
“Open” isn’t your average “Jock” autobiography filled with the usual tales of athletic achievements and very little outside of the sport. It is, in fact, about Agassi’s struggles and triumphs both on and off the court. It leaves nothing out, whether it’s about his overbearing father pushing a young Andre to be the best in the world through years of brutal practice, to his troubled marriage to actress Brooke Shields. It goes into his struggles with drugs and losing his hair. The long flowing mullet synonymous with a young Agassi was in reality a hairpiece, a wig. He also dishes the dirt on some of his opponents over his career and tells us what he really thought of them.
Of course “Open” isn’t all about the downside of Agassi’s life. It talks about the positive relationships he had with his coaches, mentors, and the profound effect his wife Steffi Graff , a true champion in her own right, has had on him. The book also talks about Agassi’s views on education and how dropping out of high school showed him later in life just how valuable education truly is. It later inspired him to open a school of his own to help underprivileged children in his native Las Vegas.
Ultimately “Open” is a human interest book about a person who overcame many obstacles to become the best in the world at what he did despite never feeling as if his life was never his own. And despite all the fame and success tennis laid at his feet, there were always demons waiting around the corner looking to challenge him. The biggest being he actually hated tennis but felt as though he never had a choice to do anything else.
“Open” is a brutally honest account of Agassi’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. If you’re a fan of tennis, or just a fan of good human interest stories, “Open” is a great book to read.