I’ll preface this review by admitting I have very little interest in professional, organized sports. Perhaps due to my complete athletic inability, I have no desire to watch or read about sports of any kind. This being the case, Andre Agassi’s Open was probably the best sports memoir for me to read. Despite being written by one of the biggest names in one of the most popular spectator sports, Agassi’s memoir is less about trying to succeed as a professional athlete than it is about trying to survive life in spite of athletic success.
Agassi, as the title would suggest, is utterly candid about both the professional and personal aspects of his life in Open. The most surprising of these revelations is Agassi’s tumultuous and fraught relationship with the sport that made him famous. Forced into tennis from the time he could swing a racket by his demanding, and at times, abusive father who was determined to mold him into the ‘number one tennis player in the world.’ This early conditioning, as well as Agassi’s natural aptitude for the sport, destined him to take on ‘boy wonder’ status. At age 13 he moved from his Las Vegas home to live and practice under famous tennis svengali Nick Bollettieri at his Tennis Academy in Florida. But as he was pushed down the narrow pathway to tennis success, Agassi resisted through rebellious behavior throughout his teen years (this resulted in the rock star look that he would become famous for later in his career). Continue reading