Wimbledon kicks off on Monday and we will see the greatest male tennis player of all time make a bid for yet another title. Yes, Roger Federer will be back to add some more silverware to his already vast collection but before Federer there was Sampras and before him was Becker, and then McEnroe, Borg and Laver. Then there was Andre Agassi; the Las Vegas native is probably one of the most charismatic and popular tennis player of all time. No other player worked their way into the public's heart as he did. From his blond Mohawk that he sported in his twenties to his bald head in his 30s, Agassi's style always turned heads. So I could not wait to get stuck into his biography. Last year when I heard that he had written a bio I did not take much notice but then statements such as how he hated tennis and how his long cascading hair was actually a wig came out in the press and I knew that this was a bio that I had to read. Open: An Autobiography is a frank and touching story about Andre's life as a celebrity tennis player and covers all the conflicts that he faced in his life. Such as his love and hate relationship with the beautiful game which also reflected the dynamic that he had with his father. Mike Agassi was a boxing champion from Iran who raised all his kids to be tennis players but focused on Andre who showed the most talent. Andre takes us behind the golden gates of the Bollettieri Academy where great champions are produced which he describes as a production line - simply a factory of tennis prodigies hoping to become the next tennis superstar. He also talks about his relationship with his inner team such as coaches Nick Bollettieri himself and Brad Gilbert and his trainer Gil Reyes. One of the most interesting aspects of the book are his feelings about his rival tennis players ie Boris Becker (both men detested each other), Jim Courier, John McEnroe and his pure and utter nemesis, Pete Sampras. Moreover Andre shares with us his friendships as well as his romantic relationships with his sweetheart Wendy who was there when he won his first Wimbledon, his fantasy marriage to Brooke Shields and Steffi Graf. Turns out that our Andre was always besotted with Stefanie (Stefi was a nickname her Mother gave her which the press picked up on) back in 1992 when they both won Wimbledon together but she showed no interest him so he went on to marry Brooke. Eight years later the two would both win the French Open together and get together - the rest as they say is history.
The book really is a fascinating look into the world of a professional tennis player and the dizzying heights of success compared to the depressing lows. From playing at prestigious tournaments such as Indian Wells and winning Grand Slams to slumming it in the Satelitte tour where you are served processed food and responsible for operating your own scorecard. Andre Agassi has certainly seen it all. As a tennis fan and someone who really likes Agassi I found this book completely riveting. I have always wondered what it was really like at the Bollettieri Academy and what the ATP tour is like and Andre explains it brilliantly. Whether you are a sports fan or just want to read about the life of Andre Agassi then you really need to pick up this book. Also it is really refreshing to read a bio where the author opens up and actually tells you about their life warts and all rather than the dull PR drivel that are out on the bookshelves.
Open: An Autobiography is available to buy on amazon - the paperback version is out in August..
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