Author: Andre Agassi
I decided to give this one a read as my older brother recommended it to me, he loves tennis and reading so I believed him when he said this was an amazing read.
Andre, a famous tennis player, started this book with a statement. He hated tennis, he described it as the decision that was made for him but not by him. He then relates that every decision in his life has been a conflict for him, he wanted to quit but he couldn’t. He realized that he will always be torn between doing something he didn’t like and make his father proud.
The story navigates Andre’s life since he was 7 years old and his father pushed him into sports. His childhood was a combination of screams and pressure that seemed unfair for such a young boy. As he dedicated his life to play tennis from such a young age, he didn’t know how to do anything else. He constantly said that if he stopped playing, he wouldn’t know what else he could do.
His constant struggle with control was heart-breaking, as he felt he had no saying in his main decisions in life he rebels with small things such as his hair and his clothes, therefore he became a mocking subject for journalists. My impression around some of his actions was that he was self-sabotaging his game as a result of his own confusion. He claimed he hated the game, but he enjoyed winning and wanted to get better.
He described himself as a lonely person and tennis was the loneliest sport. Fortunately, he surrounds himself with a team that loves himself and support him unconditionally. Personally, I think he came across as selfish at some points but is his story, I guess.
Another fact that I noticed is that he loses, a lot. He also wins important tournaments but most of his stories are about him losing, one after another game he loses and then loses again. When he wins a major tournament, he described his feelings as follows (I personally enjoyed this quote from his book):
“Now that I’ve won a slam, I know something that 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 as long as the bad. Not even close.”
I loved how this book was open and honest. He kept his thoughts and opinions as they were. He let every reader into his thoughts, feelings, and frustrations. I am not a tennis fan, so his wins and losses came as a surprise to me, but I could feel every one of them.
I only have one complaint about this book, Andre related that he meets the Friends cast as his then-girlfriend – Brooke Shields – gets a part in an episode. He narrates that experience as empty and not much importance to him and as a Friends fan, I was a bit annoyed by that. He got jealous of Brooke’s scene and stormed out; how can you miss an opportunity like that to chat with them?
I also read in some other reviews that the book got a bit too long, that might be true, towards the end gets a bit repetitive but I think the essence of the writing was present all along the story.
I recommend this book even if you don’t usually read autobiographies, is worth reading!