Andre Agassi, one of the greatest tennis players ever, hated tennis.
It’s a pretty shocking thing to read in the introduction of Open by Andre Agassi. The introduction was one of the most engaging openings to a book I’ve come across. It set the tone for the book and made it extremely hard to put down.
“Image is everything.” That’s the famous tagline Andre said in his commercials for Canon. It’s a phrase attributed to Andre himself, yet he didn’t come up with it. The advertisers told him to say it. In fact, what’s really astonishing about this book is how his image was so far from reality, from anything. In his press conferences, he would continually tell of his love for tennis while telling those closest to him that he hated it. He was known for his mohawk and crazy hair, yet he was bald and wore hairpieces. Andre did Crystal Meth and was caught through a blood test, but he wrote a letter to the ruling authorities that said it was a mistake.
The title of this book is perfect. Open. There are the obvious relations to tennis but more importantly, an opening up of Andre the person. He’s open. He’s telling the truth after lying to himself and others. The cover photo says it all. Here I am. Face to Face.
This book was fascinating. I loved it. I lost a tremendous amount of sleep over the 4 nights that I read it because I simply couldn’t put it down. We’re told from a young age to follow our passion. If we follow our passion, we’ll become truly great at something. But here is the story of one of the top tennis players in the world and he hated his sport. How did he keep on keeping on? How did he continue to excel? These are just some of the topics addressed in this autobiography.
This is book 42 of 52 of the 2017 Books of Titans reading list.