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Open: An Autobiography [Hardcover]

Andre Agassi
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Nov 2009
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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group; 1 edition (9 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307268195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307268198
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 16.6 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 431,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘Engaging, thrilling…a superbly written book’
–Michael Atherton, The Times

‘Stunningly good’
–Lynne Truss, The Times

‘Honest in a way that such books seldom are . . . An uncommonly well-written sports memoir.’
-Charles McGrath, The New York Times

‘Agassi weaves a fascinating tale of professional tennis and personal adversity . . . His tale shows that success is measured both on and off the court.’
–Doree Shafrir, New York Post

‘An ace autobiography’
–London Lite

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"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.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
106 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read 11 Nov 2009
We have all read the press and watched the news; the drug allegations, the "I hate tennis". Tennis fans aren't quite sure whether they should feel cheated for all the love and support they have given Andre, to me the book set things straight.

Most of us look back at chapters of our lives and can identify with particularly unhappy periods. Andre kicks off the book with what was going through his head with the match against Baghdatis in the 2006 US Open. It is a blow by blow account of key parts of the match and a thought provoking glimpse into the mind and heart of a tennis player. He then goes straight into his childhood, the discomfort and unhappiness of being the child prodigy son of an obsessive father. There are weirdly honest stories - his grandmother tried to breastfeed him, very disturbing but a revelation of a dysfunctional upbringing. What seems to carry Andre through his childhood are friendships with his brother Phil and Perry who later becomes his manager. The importance of the childhood friendships are critical and from the way they are explained it is easy to understand why these friends are crucial figures for Andre.

The critical friendship is that of his mentor/guide/life coach/surrogate father Gill Reyes. Andre is taken under his wing and treated with the love and respect a father should treat his son, you sense through the stories in the book that now they have met each other neither could really exist happily without the other. His marriage with Brooke Shields is dealt with candidly, many will buy this book to find out what celebrities do behind closed doors. Whereas I did think Brooke appeared superficial from some of the things mentioned here, I think it merely shows how fame affects people differently.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Image Is Everything 13 Nov 2009
Andre Agassi has written a 'tell-all' book about his life in tennis. And, it turns out, he hated tennis. That was a bigger shocker to me than the salacious fact that he was on 'crystal meth' for a year or so. J.R. Moehringer, the author of 'A Tender Bar' and a Pulitzer Prize winner for his writing was a co-author of this autobiography. Andre loved Moehringer's writing in 'The Tender Bar', and he is correct, the man's writing and the book are excellent. This book, too, is very well written and is an exceptional read.

Andre tells us that he started playing tennis at the age of 3 and by the age of 5 he was showing an aptitude for the game. He was pushed by his father-an obsessive man who pushed his son too far and too much. In fact his father felt that education was not necessary and a hindrance to his tennis practice. Andre could never tell his father how much he hated the game because it was Andre's responsibility to help his family, and that is what he did. He left school in the ninth grade, something that has bothered him his entire career. His goal was to achieve in tennis. He was enrolled in the Bollettien tennis camp, but it felt more like a prison than a camp. The academy, in Agassi's words, was "Lord of the Flies with forehands." In retaliation Andre started wearing earrings, grew his hair long and wore loud clothes. Thus his reputation was born. As his career started to flourish, Andre ,tried to keep it all together. He was known as the flamboyant player, the real player. He played the best tennis players in the world, and he was the best. He had an eye for the ball, and the 'tell' of players when they were about to hit the big one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow .... 12 Jan 2010
I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this book! I read the newspaper serialisations and thought it was awful!!!! it seemed so simplistic and almost childlike - then I read the book itself - it's brilliant. totally gripped me from the start - the fact that this little child hated tennis and was basically forced to play on and on. I've never understood the agassi myth - barbara streisand at wimbledon always seemed so bizare - but this finally makes it make sense. what a roller coaster of a life. what a price sport can take from you. great read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it & struggled to put it down 4 Dec 2009
By Lumpster VINE VOICE
I read a lot of sports biogs and this one stands right up there with the best ever - Lance Armstrong's "It's Not About The Bike" - in my opinion. The book got a lot of publicity on the back of Agassi's confessions of drug taking but it really is so much more than that. It is a story of a boy forced to live the ambitions of his father, a childhood dominated by tennis, Agassi's attempts at rebellion, his emergence as a world class tennis player and then subsequent injuries, falls and comebacks. Amid all of this there is huge honesty about friends, family, relationships and himself as a man with frequent twists and turns along the way. I've always likes Andre Agassi but this book shows what a great, generous, fighter he is, with a huge personality in a sport so starved of real characters. I didn't want the book to end but as I put it down, it was fantastic to reflect that by the end of his career, he had finally learnt to love the game he had spent so long hating plus had met his soul mate, Steffi Graf, with whom he genuinely seems so happy and so content. This book comes highly recommended, even if you don't have much of an interest in tennis. Enjoy!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great achievement, so happy he has found contentment and ...
An extraordinary aspect of the tennis world and his life. A great achievement , so happy he has found contentment and love, an inspiration.long may his academy flourish.
Published 3 days ago by Hen Pecked
3.0 out of 5 stars The thing I liked the most was some of the relationships that were ...
There are some interesting aspects about this book. But to be honest a tennis player's life (even Agassi's) isn't that interesting- its just match after match after... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Creaker
5.0 out of 5 stars Go Andre!
Absolutely fantastic autobiography of a real champ. Highly recommended, you won't stop reading.
Published 8 days ago by Pieretto
4.0 out of 5 stars though helped by his ghost writer - whose name I can't remember as...
Much more interesting than most sport (auto)biographies as Agassi is seemingly very "Open" about his love/hate relationship with tennis and with his father and the demands... Read more
Published 9 days ago by CoveyJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable read
Loved the book and also love the man. Very interesting take on the tennis circuit scene.
Published 9 days ago by doro
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok - Not one of my favourites
Was an okay book. For me it did tend to get a bit repetative. Not one of my favourites.
Published 10 days ago by M. Baxter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really good book
Published 14 days ago by Miss J V PHILLIPS
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great story! I'm not even a tennis fan but ...
What a great story! I'm not even a tennis fan but this book kepy me interested even though it's filled with tennis matches! And what a memory Agassi has! Read more
Published 14 days ago by Mrs. R. Endicott
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really good and interesting read
Published 21 days ago by Mark Segal
5.0 out of 5 stars great autobiography
Brilliant and very interesting insight into one of the games greats--- I loved andre Agassi even more after this book
Published 28 days ago by James C.
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