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Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
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Open: An Autobiography (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Andre Agassi

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Title:Open: An Autobiography
Authors:Andre Agassi
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Open by André Agassi (Author) (2009)

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English (58)  Italian (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (63)
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I don't usually read sports bios especially sports I know very little about and wouldn't watch on TV to save a limb; however, after reading just a few pages I was hooked. Open is a narcissistic tour deforce of Andre Agassi's tennis career from the early years of a hard driving father to the final retirement game sprinkled with lots of syrupy stuff about Steffi Graff. What makes it work is it is extremely engaging and relational (now whether this is due to the ghost writer or actually Andre I didn't care because it made the ride enjoyable). Some things I learned along the way. Line judges in tennis are thin skinned and a bit prudish. Surround yourself with good people and invest in them. You can succeed even if you hate what you are doing. It's never too late to tinker with your game. Once you've got the fundamentals and conditioning down then don't think just act. I'm intrigued by his love of Shadowlands. I think he should have let his father and Stef's dad duke it out. Even though his faith is mentioned I wish he would have explored it more. It was just the right amount of tennis talk for the uninitiated even though there were a few terms he should have defined for those that know nothing about the sport. ( )
  revslick | Oct 12, 2014 |
Non ho mai amato il tennis di Andre Agassi. Al netto degli ultimi, encomiabili anni l’ho sempre visto come uno di quegli sparapalle – l’attaccante dal fondo – che hanno trasformato uno sport di tocco ed eleganza in una sorta di braccio di ferro tra energumeni (con conseguente aumento esponenziale della noia per lo spettatore). Veder confermato che la scuola di Nick Bollettieri, che molto ha contribuito a tale trasformazione, fosse una specie di lager per ragazzini e che lo stesso Nick si dimostri persona mediocre è solo uno dei pregi minori di questo libro che, sorta di confessione catartica, è capace di appassionare anche chi di racchette e palline non ha mai sentito parlare. Agassi riversa nel registratore di J.R. Moehringer (che però non ha voluto comparire sul frontespizio) l’intera sua vita, dall’infanzia segnata dai massacranti allenamenti paterni all’adolescenza ribelle e contromano per finire a una maturità conquistata con molta fatica e quindi fonte di ancor maggiore soddisfazione. Due cose colpiscono nell’autore, la capacità di guardarsi dentro e quella di riconoscere in maniera quasi istintiva le persone di cui circondarsi. La prima gli consente di analizzare le azioni compiute e, soprattutto, il rapporto con il gioco, magari odiato – adesso sappiamo il perché di certe sconcertanti sconfitte al primo turno contro il primo carneade di passaggio - ma spesso insostituibile fonte di adrenalina. La seconda è alla base della creazione di un piccolo clan affidabile che si rivela molto importante quando è necessario risollevarsi dopo le numerose cadute o attutire le insicurezze che la vita randagia del tennista moderno finisce per accentuare. Non pare un caso che Andre abbia sempre cercato donne più vecchie di lui, compresa – seppur per meno di un anno - quella giusta, Stefanie (mai chiamata Steffi) Graf, un’altra che colpiva dritti e rovesci mentre i suoi coetanei erano all’asilo. Il libro parte subito molto bene – con il racconto dell’ultima vittoria, sul cipriota Baghdatis agli U.S. Open del 2006 – e mantiene per tutte le sue pagine un ritmo invidiabile che tiene desta l’attenzione anche nella parte più difficile, il racconto delle partite: la sincerità non viene mai meno e risultano così eccessive le critiche di alcuni sportivi, in attività o meno, per l’ammissione riguardo all’uso di metanfetamine e la confessione dei trucchi escogitati per salvarsi dalla positività all’antidoping (anche perché si fa riferimento a un periodo in cui Agassi non vinceva quasi più e pareva, a meno di trent’anni, già finito). ( )
  catcarlo | Oct 8, 2014 |
You know how sometimes when you read an autobiography, you really feel like you'd want to sit down and have a beer with the author? Open is not one of those autobiographies. Don't get me wrong - Agassi seems like a decent guy. But he's not an outgoing guy, and he's not a warm guy, and he seems like a pretty neurotic guy. It's not really surprising considering the upbringing he had, but I still don't really see him being much fun to hang out with.

I grew up watching tennis, so I remember Agassi coming on the scene. I remember the infamous Canon commercial he did with the tagline "Image is everything." I remember the hot pink bike shorts, the hair (or hair piece, as it turns out), the earring, the denim shorts, Brooke Shields. For me, a lot of the stories in the book were like a walk down memory lane, but with the ability to see them from a different angle. It was great to get Agassi's insight into these moments, because usually there was a lot going on underneath that the general public had no idea about. He starts off by explaining that he hates tennis - not in any of the myriad ways you might take that coming from a professional tennis player, but really *hates* it. His father was obsessed with the game, and obsessed with having a champion; when Andre's three older siblings failed in various ways, the job fell to him. Eventually, his life reached a point where he had to consider a couple of things: he was good at tennis and he didn't have the skills for anything else, so he might as well try to make a go of it.

Although there is no moment where he completely changes his view of the game, he does come to a truce with it, and even finds that there is pleasure in there somewhere, although not the type that most athletes might describe. Agassi is downright surprised when he feels elation at winning a Grand Slam. He's both open and distant; willing to delve into his emotions and failings, but unable to see far beyond his own immediate sphere. Somewhat surprisingly considering all the press their rivalry got, he talks only occasionally about Pete Sampras. On the other hand, they were both pretty reserved, so it doesn't seem like they spent a lot of time in conversation together. Agassi doesn't seem to like Sampras all that much, either, but when asked he says that yes, he would consider Pete a friend. This is the weakness of the book for anyone looking for insight into dynamics between the players or insight into life on the tour as a larger picture: Agassi lives inside his own head most of the time, and aside from that with a small group of trusted friends, rarely venturing outside of that bubble. But if you're more interested in Agassi himself, or how someone who reached such heights could do it without even liking what he was doing, this is the book for you. ( )
  ursula | Apr 24, 2014 |
A great read - especially if you followed tennis during the last 25 years. I didn't realise how many years he played for or how many slams he won. I knew he made a comeback and seemed to a changed person. The book is well written and he is honest about his lies - if that makes sense. Its starts near the end and then re-starts again from the beginning. Some great insights about sport and life - well worth the read. ( )
  Neale | Jan 12, 2014 |
I had a mad crush on Agassi when I was a teenager. Sat in Wales, UK in a little flat watching Wimbledon instead of going to see Shakespeares birth place with my family etc... But I had no real idea what I was watching, I just liked the intensity of it. This book was a page turner to me and despite critics who dislike his "rebellious" style or say he sold himself to marketers, I found him to be decidedly un-shallow. In fact, for someone so "unschooled" he has some brilliant observations-notably how people kept saying he was changing his style when he points out that he was just trying to find it. They vilify him when really he is just coping with being under such constant pressure and exposure to the world. He points out a truth that people miss:for people who want to find their best and be most fulfilled, it is a long road and just as you can't look at a 6 year old and give a final verdict on what he'll become, you can't make that final jugdgement about a 20 year old. Life is so much longer, hopefully, than it ever seems. I am a sap and love that he married Stephanie. I watched the youtube video of her acceptance speech, I believe for some hall of fame thing, and it was touching. There is more to Agassi than people say. Maybe he's slightly egotistical, but wouldn't most people be in his position. At least he's not robotic like some tennis players or a pretty boy like Federer who doesn't even sweat. Note:If you *don't* enjoy tennis, you will find this boring. There is a lot of talk about each match. ( )
  ErikaHope | Sep 9, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
“Open” is one of the most passionately anti-sports books ever written by a superstar athlete — bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily and star-spangled gratitude.
 
Somebody on the memoir team has great gifts for heart-tugging drama.
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Agassi, AndréAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moehringer, J.R.Authorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barfoed, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borello, SuzyTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Breuer, CharlotteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, ErikReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lupi, GiulianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Möllemann, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meudal, GérardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"I open my eyes and I don't know where I am or who I am."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307268195, Hardcover)

From Andre Agassi, one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court, a beautiful, haunting autobiography.

Agassi’s incredibly rigorous training begins when he is just a child. By the age of thirteen, he is banished to a Florida tennis camp that feels like a prison camp. Lonely, scared, a ninth-grade dropout, he rebels in ways that will soon make him a 1980s icon. He dyes his hair, pierces his ears, dresses like a punk rocker. 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 relationship. Never before has the inner game of tennis and the outer game of fame been so precisely limned. Alongside vivid portraits of rivals from several generations—Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer—Agassi gives unstinting accounts of his brief time with Barbra Streisand and his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields. He reveals a shattering loss of confidence. And he recounts his spectacular resurrection, a comeback climaxing with his epic run at the 1999 French Open 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. Inspired by her quiet strength, he fights through crippling pain from a deteriorating spine to remain a dangerous opponent in the twenty-first and final year of his career. Entering his last tournament in 2006, he’s hailed for completing a stunning metamorphosis, from nonconformist to elder statesman, from dropout to education advocate. And still he’s not done. At a U.S. Open for the ages, he makes a courageous last stand, then delivers one of the most stirring farewells ever heard in a sporting arena.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:53 -0400)

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From Andre Agassi, one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court, a beautiful, haunting autobiography.

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