Monday, December 28, 2009

Andre Agassi

I just finished Andre Agassi's autobiography, Open: An Autobiography. Agassi describes his book as a story of redemption. For some reason, everything seems to be about redemption nowadays. I guess too many people have things they have to atone for. hehe.

Probably my favorite parts of the book are his stories on his coach Brad Gilbert and his future wife, Steffi Graf. Gilbert helped Agassi win several big tournaments and it was interesting to read how he did that. Agassi's courtship of Graf was also interesting. I like this quote from Agassi to Graf: "If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward." He told her that because she was dating some other guy for 6 years. He was trying to get her to give him a chance and forget about her then-boyfriend. I guess it worked. hehe.

Here are some other things I learned:

1) Agassi is not a fan of Boris Becker or Michael Chang. Becker said Agassi got preferential treatment from the tournament officials. Agassi disagreed with that assessment and held it against Becker ever since. Chang meanwhile was always thanking God and Agassi was annoyed by it.

2) He accused former player Jeff Tarango of cheating when they were playing as kids. Tarango now coaches tennis and denies the accusations.

3) He listens to soft rock (Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, Richard Marx) despite his rebel image. Agassi hated the rebel image, btw. He never thought of himself as a rebel.

4) He hated tennis, but played because he didn't have any other skills. He only has a 9th grade education. Also, his dad was a bit of a tyrant -- the classic "sports dad".

5) In his youth, he once played in his jeans when he played an opponent becuase he didn't think his opponent was much of a challenge. Sounds familiar.

The book was written with the help of J.R. Moehringer, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book The Tender Bar. How much credit Moehringer gets for the book, who knows. Either way, the final product was an entertaining read. Lots of good stories. Many of them funny.

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bw said...

I watched Andre Agassi play in the early 90's when he was at the top (the first time) and when his hair was still long. He was charismatic and more than his tennis skills, he looked like a star, with a lot of girl fans :) I never thought he would settle down with a fellow tennis pro. I guess he needed both a soulmate and playmate, someone he can play serious tennis any time and get a real work out ;)

Photo Cache said...

Hey, post more often in the coming year. Nakakamiss posts mo eh.

Hoped you had a great Christmas.

watson said...

I was into tennis at the time of Andre Agassi. Those were the days.

Happy New Year to you and your family!

TruBlue said...

He also played with a WIG since he lost lots of his hair and it almost came off during a game, hehe...he admitted it (wished it came off).

Find it hypocritical he always tells people he hates tennis, yet he has a tennis court and plays recreational tennis with Steffi, and made millions out of it.

Cheers and Happy New Year to you and family and your fans here.

dimaks said...

there are many real life stories like this.. people excelling in the field they don't really like. that in itself says the importance of hard work.

Major Tom said...

Feels like the Agassi autobiography is such a very good read, and atypical at that.

I wonder bout the drug part of his confessions; was it true that he admitted taking performance-enhancing pills?

Ping-i said...

bw, he says they had a lot in common -- overbearing tennis fathers, raw tennis talent and the same favorite movie. hehe

Thanks, PC. I'll try. :D

Hope you had a great holiday as well.

watson, yeah, I used to watch a lot back then. I watch occassionally nowadays, esp. when its a Grand Slam.

Belated Happy New Year to you as well!

Ping-i said...

TB, yes, he mentions the wig in the book. I guess that's why I sympathize with Agassi -- we're both follically-challenged. haha

I don't know if he has a tennis court at his house. I think he mentioned in the book that he played at a nearby facility or at his charter school.

Agassi mentions in the book that he came to appreciate tennis once he realized he could use his earnings to build his school.

Belated Happy New Year!

dimaks, that's right. you don't have to like your job to earn a lot.

MT, yes, he admitted to taking crystal meth. He doesn't call it a performance-enhancing drug, but a performance-inhibitor.

Daphn3 Laura said...

Hey Wil you should get off the lazy horse and publish more posts on this blog of yours LOL :D

Hope 2010 is coming along just fine for you. Have a good one!

Ping-i said...

Daphne, as you requested. hehe