Having just finished Open, I can’t help but admire Agassi’s life, his humor, and his full honesty. Before reading, I’ve heard about his confession of using crystal meth, and didn’t think much about it. My main interest was in his life, not in his confessions.
One ESPN reporter said Agassi’s in this just for the money. “I heard the punchline, I’m not going to buy the book. Thanks,” he says. I urge you to read the book. It’s more than just new, startling revelations. It’s a full, satisfying portrait of an athlete who loved to learn but hated school, who was a #1 tennis player but deeply hated tennis, who married the girl of his dream but did not love her. Full of contradictions, all the more human and real.
Agassi said, “How do you regret your life, how do you regret telling the truth? This is the only chance I have to communicate the power of my journey. That’s why I called the book ‘Open.’ That’s why it took me three years to write it. I want this thing to impact millions of people I’ve never met.” It’s certainly impacted me and I hope people will pick up this book despite what so many critics have to say about him.
Some of my favorite lines:
- I can picture millions of people suddenly leaning closer to their TVs, turning to each other and in dozens of languages and dialects saying some version of: Did Andre Agassi’s hair just fall off?
- There’s a lot of good waiting for you on the other side of tired. Get yourself tired, Andre. That’s where you’re going to know yourself. On the other side of tired.
- I marvel at how unexciting it is to be famous, how mundane famous people are. They’re confused, uncertain, insecure, and often hate what they do. It’s something we always hear–like that old adage that money can’t buy happiness–but we never believe it until we see it for ourselves.
- You know everything you need to know about people when you see their faces at the moments of your greatest triumph.
- This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others.
- So you hate tennis. Hate it all you want. You still need to respect it–and yourself.
- No matter what your life is, choosing it changes everything.
- I’m reminded how slight the margin can be on a tennis court, how narrow the space between greatness and mediocrity, fame and anonymity, happiness and despair.
- Life is a tennis match between polar opposites. Winning and losing, love and hate, open and closed. It helps to recognize that painful fact early. Then recognizing the polar opposites within yourself, and if you can’t embrace them, or reconcile them, at least accept them and move on. The only thing you cannot do is ignore them.