“Few of us are granted the grace to know ourselves, and until we do, maybe the best we can do is be consistent.”

– Andre Agassi, Open

Andre will tell you he hates tennis.

Men and women go to work everyday hating their jobs. Why shouldn’t he?

Open by Andre Agassi is one of the most honest and heartfelt books I have ever read. The absence of quotation marks immerses you so deeply that you can hear the sound of every ball coming off of his racket, the vibrations of the strings, the smell of the locker room, and feel the tension, anxiety, and frustrations coming off of this man. You’re living, breathing, and walking side by side Andre in this autobiography.

Open

This isn’t just a book about tennis. Like Eddie Huang’s Fresh Off The Boat, it uses tennis as a backdrop. A vehicle to keep the reader engaged as it outlines the struggles of a man pushed to the absolute limits in the only world he knows. The tempo of the book reads like Agassi’s tennis game – graceful, raw, powerful, and quick.

We’ve all experienced a time where we’ve come to hate what we are doing. Whether it’s our jobs, our relationships, something inside us keeps our bodies stagnant. Something that buries our feet in cement preventing us from getting away. Anchored in this part of our world, we struggle to see the brighter side. At first we hate it, but we begin to realize the wonders of where we are. Appreciation, gratitude, adoration. We start to admire the little things, the trivial, the mundane, and we grow. We realize we’re not stuck in cement. We’ve rooted ourselves as a tree, grown strong into the ground. Immovable, in a positive way, and our purpose is to appreciate where we are and make the best of what we’ve got.

“I’ve been cheered by thousands, booed by thousands, but nothing feels as bad as the booing inside your own head during those ten minutes before you fall asleep.” 

– Andre Agassi, Open

Andre realized this late in life. Constantly forced to push back against the path set for him by his father, he broke down mentally. His body was causing him physical pain, he married and divorced Brooke Shields, broke all his trophies, won and lost, and rebelled against every conventional notion set before him. But he’s not a rebel. This isn’t a comedy or a tragedy. It’s a book about the tides of life. The ebb and flow set in constant motion. It’s as truthful and open as a story can be. Hard work doesn’t always pay off. Winning doesn’t feel as good as it should, and losing feels worse than it actually is. The nights we lie awake criticizing ourselves for the things we’ve done, or the words we’ve said. We’re faced with fear of the thoughts strangers. We often improve ourselves for others and not truly for ourselves. We lie a lot. And the one we lie to the most is most deserving of the truth.

“Now that I’ve won a slam, I know something very few people on earth are permitted to know. A win doesn’t feel as good as a loss feels bad, and the good feeling doesn’t last long as the bad. Not even close.”

– Andre Agassi, Open

In many ways, Open by Andre Agassi is not a book. It is the poster child of books being judged by their covers. It’s a look at a man beneath the skin, behind the media. The pages capture an honest reflection of a life filled with turmoil, elation, struggles, doubts, successes, excitement, happiness, hatred, regret, self-loathing, and self-respect. Thoughts that roll through our minds each and every day, and many of us make real. The constant struggle to keep ourselves balanced.

“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. Even the structure of tennis, the way the pieces fit inside one another like Russian nesting dolls, mimics the structure of our days. Points become games become sets become tournaments, and it’s all so tightly connected that any point can become the turning point. It reminds me of the way seconds become minutes become hours, and any hour can be our finest. Or darkest. It’s our choice.”

– Andre Agassi, Open

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— Benny

Live in the U.S, U.K or Canada?
Buy Open by Andre Agassi here on Amazon.

Live in Canada?
Buy Open by Andre Agassi here at Indigo Chapters.

 

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