I had held off on reading this book for numerous reasons. The cover bothered me, I thought it would be boring, and I wasn’t all the familiar with Andre Agassi. Overtime I saw this book in the middle of my (rather daunting) to read pile, I asked myself why I even bothered to snatch it up at the book sale last year. Then I started to read it.
For a ninth grade dropout, Andre Agassi can write. I will admit that I was biased from the beginning because I love tennis. While I did find his descriptions of tennis matches amazing, I can see how some people wouldn’t. What I really loved about this book, however, was Agassi’s full commitment to being “open.” He tells the brutally honest story of growing up and hating tennis, his brief stint with drugs, and his failed marriage to Brooke Shields.
Perhaps most importantly in the book, and in Agassi’s life, is his charity work (besides his gorgeous family with current wife and tennis queen, Steffi Graf). Agassi built a charter school for underprivileged children in Nevada, his home state. For a lot of Agassi’s career, he couldn’t motivate himself. He writes about how he was disappointed to reach number 1 because it was never his goal, and that he did not know what his goal was. When he began to play for something bigger then himself, however, he found his stride. Once Agassi began fundraising, every game he played was for the kids who would one day attend his school. This was the motivation that had been missing from Agassi’s life previously.
Andre ends his autobiography with a word of encouragement to his children: “I hope it [Open] will be one of many books that give them comfort, guidance, pleasure. 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.”
I put this book near the top of my list of favorite books I read this summer/year. I would definitely recommend it to any tennis fans out there. I finished it just in time for Wimbledon! #win