"Open" by Andre Agassi

Most people at some point in their lives have read an autobiography whether it be on Malcolm X, Tony Blair, or Al Pacino. Based on the experience with that single autobiography, many readers either claim to love them, or hate them. It is not until you get past what you once thought of an autobiography before, can you finally immerse yourself into the thrilling and idiosyncratic ocean of autobiographies once again. Open by Andre Agassi is the autobiography that may just be the book you need to provide that final push back into the ocean of autobiographical novels.  

Andre Agassi is most famously known for his talents and capabilities on the tennis court but whether he wants this to be his legacy is up in the air. Agassi has been playing tennis all his life-starting professionally at 16-up to the age of 36 where he was physically incapable of performing. Through those 20 years of professional tennis, he managed to pull out eight grand slam single wins and a Master Cup, which earned him the 7th spot in, “Greatest Tennis Player of All Time” list by Sports Illustrated Magazine. With the spare time before his retirement, he founded the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education which lead him to found the Andre Agassi Prepatory School, a charter school in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was roughly three years after his retirement when he wrote this book with the help of some of his best friends, the people who knew him best.

While he spent the greater portion of his life playing tennis, in the first chapter, the first page actully, he blatantly states, “I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis with a dark and secret passion, and always have.” For Andre though, quitting was never an option. As a child, his dad would not allow him to quit, as a teen he hated school so much but was given the opportunity to play tennis all day versus go to school and took it, and as an adult, he didn’t have enough of an education to know what or how to do anything else. Most people find this passionate hatred confusing because if you excel at something and pursue it, many assume that you love to do it. That is not the case that is expressed in this book.

Throughout this book, Agassi goes into great depth about the struggles he goes through in tennis and his self-discovery because he has never known exactly who he is. The only thing he has known, is that while he may only be one person, there are two different sides to him, the one that goes out on the court, and the one that exists off the court. In the process of trying to figure out who he is, he experiments with his appearance, usually as an act of rebellion. However, in the book, one of his closest friends helps him to analyse how other see him and in Agassi’s own words, “...people have been fooled by my changing looks, my clothes and hair, into thinking that I know who I am. People see my self-exploration as self-expression.” This really helps you to see through the eyes of the people that see him as both a player and a person and get an idea of the bulwark he puts up to outsiders.

Now that Andre is on stable ground in his life, with his wife Stefanie Graf and two children, Jaden and Jaz, he is content with his life. His wife Stefanie Graf is a retired professional women's tennis player who is considered one of the best female players of all time and to some, one the best tennis players ever.  With his education foundation the fore-front of his professional life, he has no intent of going back onto the courts for anything more than the occasional bout with his wife.

One thing that I really appreciate is how in depth his writing is with his emotions and how he is able to recall all of these moments with such vivid description. It lets you get a better idea of who Andre Agassi is and helps you to get a better understanding behind Andre’s numerous decisions and his feelings toward certain things. However, he does sometimes dwell on things for a little bit too long which is irritating, but it helps the reader to realize what Andre truly values. Overall though, this book is a phenomenal read for anyone because of the many sensitive topics it touches on outside of his tennis life, which makes it relatable to so many different people. I am a 16 year-old girl who can still find connections between my life and his and the struggles and accomplishes he has had. While this book is for anyone who loves autobiographies it is also for those who are willing to try them or give them another chance. Not to mention anyone who is interested in self-discovery, romance, collaboration, working through struggles and going through the waves of life, no matter where the tide takes you.


by: Andre Agassi

AKA Publishing: 2009

386 pages

I call this piece, "On the Flip Side." It represents Andre Agassi and how there have always been two sides to him but he never knew what each of them were. With this, I have one side representing who he is on the the tennis court and the other side representing who he is as a person off the court. 

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