The other day my young niece insisted that I should read ‘Open’ – Andre Agassi’s Autobiography. I was a little skeptical. I am mostly a fiction person and a sportsperson I am not. Besides gone are those days when I used to stay up nights to see Steffi break her opponent. Yet now I am so glad that I did read it after all. Though almost a decade too late, am so glad that my niece compelled me to open that book – glimpse onto Center Court into the World of Andre Agassi!
And what a World! From Becker to Federer, from Arthur Ashe Stadium to Roland Garros, what a ride! The book is less about stats and more about emotions. It is about aces alright but more about errors and faults. And yes about comebacks. This is a book that has enthralled both my niece and me – two different generations, two dissimilar outlooks. The flow, the style gripped me till Finish Line.
From his rigorous Childhood to his rebellious teens, from his madness on court to his Philanthropy, he has opened his heart, soul and his wounds to us. We get to read it all – his unorthodox appearances, drugs, affairs, family and pain. From the Grass courts to Clay – from Lively Las Vegas to Chic Paris we get to relive it all. From being a School drop to his Education Foundation, he is a Living Legend no less. Yet his battles are so real and his words humbling and reflective.
There are so many heart-warming and inspiring quotes. Some of my favorites –
“It’s no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature…..”
“There’s a lot of good waiting for you on the other side of tired. Get yourself tired…”
“Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others….”
“You don’t have to be the best in the world every time you go out there. You just have to be better than one guy.”
“I tell the players: You’ll hear a lot of applause in your life, fellas, but none will mean more to you than that applause-from your peers. I hope each of you hears that at the end.”
Surely these words put life in perspective. The book – definitely a must read not only for Tennis fans but for others too. It’s inspirational with a punch of reality, a winner alright.