Newsbytheway's Blog

January 8, 2010

OPEN: Confessions of a dangerous mind

Filed under: Sports — Rabea Khan @ 12:16 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I have just finished reading Open. Empty and sad… I am not describing the book but the feeling I am left with now when the book is over. It’s that good.

Copyright: Chris Josefy, Source: Wikipedia

Andre Agassi’s autobiography is brutally honest, where he lets the reader peek into not only his life but his mind as well.

You are left wanting for more, wanting to know him more, wanting to share few more anecdotes…

The book covers his career right from the very beginning to his last match. He underlines his hatred for tennis quite a number of times in the book. Yet the book is an account of life in between various tournaments. This illustrates his passion. Even if he hated the game, he hated it with a passion. That passion in the end made him excel.

Agassi has made a player more human by laying bare his thoughts during numerous matches. Whenever one is watching any sport, one tends to think of people playing as mere players. They are players of course but they are human beings too. That might be thinking about their girlfriend, their parents in between sets, but that seems impossible to us.  They should be and they must be thinking about the game.

The book is full of inane things he used to think during matches. And also strategic thinking that decided the outcome of the match.

You would want to watch all those matches again, now that you know what was he thinking when he played that particular shot or how he felt when lost a match to Sampras.

Agassi’s love life

The book also mentions his various relationships over the years and he doesn’t choose to be private here as well.  If his marriage with Brooke Shields comes across as a mistake, he let you think he is a romantic fool when he pursues Steffi Graf. In fact his love for Graf is evident even before he marries Shields. When he marries Shields you almost wish to tell him, please don’t marry Brooke, you love Steffi.

Thankfully, he doesn’t sermonize or ponder at any point of time. The Book is all about ‘when’ and ‘what’ and not ‘why’.

Reading Open is like renewing your vows with tennis. You will fall in love with the game again…more so with Andre Agassi.

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December 10, 2009

Agassi out in ‘open’

I went to see a legend; a tennis star whom I idolize. I came back meeting a not-so-perfect man who confessed that he is a liar.  And yet I adore him, even more now.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2009

It was a Q&A session organized by Sunday Times.  Andre Agassi was in conversation with David Walsh (chief sports writer, Sunday Times.) about his autobiography ‘Open’.

I expected it to be interesting since the book has already created so much controversy. But it surpassed all my expectations and how.

Agassi spoke without any inhibitions. He was a storyteller on the stage captivating his audience with his honesty and sense of humour.  He got up from his chair time-to-time and impersonated other tennis players to illustrate his stories. Agassi spellbound the audience with his anecdotes and everyone loved him for been so candid.

But more importantly, the session reinstated the fact that it’s not a perfect world. Not even for Agassi who has got money, fame and everything else. Look closely, and you’ll find nothing extraordinary about his life story.

It’s about a man whose father chose his life for him. A man who hates his job…who gets jealous when he sees his girlfriend getting intimate with someone else, even if she is an actor doing her job.

What makes the story astonishing is the impossibility of it. We never expect a celebrity to be burdened by these mundane issues.  Agassi broke those myths of a perfect life of a celebrity. Grass is not always green on the other side, well in this case, a tennis court.

Sampras Vs Agassi Senior

Agassi shared one very interesting incident that didn’t make it to the book, which involves his father Mike Agassi and his archrival Pete Sampras.

Mike never used to come for any of his son’s matches. He thought that would make him nervous and affect his performance. One time he broke the tradition and went to see the match between Agassi and Sampras. At that stage, Agassi had an upper hand and Sampras was under pressure.

It was Sampras’ serve and suddenly a phone rings breaking his concentration. He tried to re-focus and serve again. Phone is still ringing. He then loses it and shouts at the stands behind him.  “ Will you answer your phone?”. Turns out it was Agassi senior who was trying to dig out the phone from his bag. A boxing champion, it would have been out of his character if he didn’t retort. He yells back,

“ It is my phone, I will answer it as and when I please, kiss my a**”.

The book is full of such amusing incidents that will brings you closer to the person, Agassi.  And if this session was a trailer, I bet the book will a blockbuster.

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