I don’t tend to read much non-fiction. I excuse it by saying my addiction to news sites around the globe is non-fiction enough, so a book allows me to escape into another world entirely. When it comes to (auto)biographies, I could probably count the number I have read on one hand, but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy them.
Andre Agassi’s biography was one such read. Recommended to me by a friend who said “It’s surprisingly good”, Open suddenly became passed around family members, friends, and neighbours. The title of his autobiography is very apt, for throughout the book, Agassi is completely and utterly open. He recounts his childhood, his relationship with his parents and siblings; tennis games, coaches, camps, and academies; travel, international competitions and family.
He recalls a time when his father was looking to buy a new house. It seemed his only criterion was that there was space in the backyard for a tennis court. Measuring tape in hand, he would walk through the house to the back garden to determine how much space – or lack of – there was. No viewing of the kitchen, lounge or bedrooms would take place if the backyard was too small.
Agassi also spoke of his time on the tennis circuit. At times, crippled with pain, he would spend his nights on the floor - the only way he could get a decent sleep in preparation for the game ahead. He talks about his evaluation and strategies of opponents, and his own mental challenges he had to fight so hard against in his head.
To become a World Number 1 in a sport, you have to be a certain kind of person – and Agassi’s own personality certainly comes through here. He’s open and frank, tells the reader what he thinks and makes no excuses for his behaviour. He’s arrogant yet admirable, stubborn yet sensitive – and despite at times being left frustrated by his seemingly carefree approach to those around him, I am left with a sense of wonder at what this man has achieved.