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4.35806451612903 out of 54.35806451612903 out of 54.35806451612903 out of 54.35806451612903 out of 54.35806451612903 out of 5 4.36 (31 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Andre Agassi Narrator: Erik Davies Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2009 ISBN: 9780307713957
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Those who were fans of Andre Agassi in his early days will remember what a furor he caused on the tennis court. Tennis has always been the game of the genteel British upper class, and Agassi, who was from Las Vegas, didn't exactly fit in. From his long, shaggy hair and bandanna to his Lycra bicycle shorts worn under denim cutoffs, he was the picture of a rebel. He added to his appearance with his uncouth behavior, spitting on the court and calling the umpire names. And yet, there was something about him that made fans go crazy—a certain fury in his playing. Agassi hit the ball as though he hated it and wanted to punish it in some way. In Open: An Autobiography, we realize that he did.

Agassi really opens up in this autobiography, talking about his childhood and his earlier years in the game. He was the son of a retired Olympian boxer who was determined to produce a prodigy. Agassi's three older siblings failed the test; they just didn't have what it took to train in the grueling way their father demanded. However, Andre was naturally talented and able to withstand the numerous hours of training. As a result, he was trained at home first and later sent to the Florida tennis academy where he endured more of the same. The academy was a competitive environment where everyone was trying to make it as a professional tennis player. This was where Agassi's rebellion began, with the long hair and a two-inch-long pinky nail, and it continued even as he became a professional tennis player who was eventually ranked number one, although for a short time.

Agassi also tells us the story of his first marriage to Brooke Shields which he describes as a farce. Besides the fact that the two were groomed for success from an early age, they didn't have much in common, with Shields being a more intellectual kind of person who disliked tennis and Agassi being jealous and feeling a little left behind even though he was doing better in his career. Eventually, Agassi started dating Steffi Graf, who was the number one tennis player of her time, replacing Martina Navratilova with her fierce forehand. Graf and Agassi are now married and spend their time doing charity work for "at risk" children in Las Vegas.

For anyone who followed any part of Agassi's tempestuous career, this is a great book that really takes you into the mind of the tennis player who managed to win so many hearts despite the rage he displayed on the court. You get a look behind the scenes, and you come to know Agassi as a person. What you see is a kind and generous man who eventually came to terms with a career he didn't choose. Andre Agassi is the son of Emmanuel "Mike" Agassi, an Olympian boxer and Elizabeth "Betty" Agassi; he is the youngest of four children. He attended Nick Bollettieri's tennis academy in Florida for free because Bollettieri claimed that Agassi had more natural talent than anyone else he'd known. He dropped out at 16 and started playing professionally. He is an eight-time Grand Slam champion and an Olympic gold medalist.

From Andre Agassi, one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court—a beautiful, haunting autobiography

Agassi’s incredibly rigorous training begins when he is just a child. By the age of thirteen, he is banished to a Florida tennis camp that feels like a prison camp. Lonely, scared, a ninth-grade dropout, he rebels in ways that will soon make him a 1980s icon. He dyes his hair, pierces his ears, dresses like a punk rocker. By the time he turns pro at sixteen, his new look promises to change tennis forever, as does his lightning-fast return. 

And yet, despite his raw talent, he struggles early on. We feel his confusion as he loses to the world’s best, his greater confusion as he starts to win. After stumbling in three Grand Slam finals, Agassi shocks the world, and himself, by capturing the 1992 Wimbledon. Overnight he becomes a fan favorite and a media target.

Agassi brings a near-photographic memory to every pivotal match and every relationship. Never before has the inner game of tennis and the outer game of fame been so precisely limned. Alongside vivid portraits of rivals from several generations—Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer—Agassi gives unstinting accounts of his brief time with Barbra Streisand and his doomed marriage to Brooke Shields. He reveals a shattering loss of confidence. And he recounts his spectacular resurrection, a comeback climaxing with his epic run at the 1999 French Open and his march to become the oldest man ever ranked #1.

In clear, taut prose, Agassi evokes his loyal brother, his wise coach, his gentle trainer, and all of the people who help him regain his balance and find love at last with Stefanie Graf. Inspired by her quiet strength, he fights through crippling pain from a deteriorating spine to remain a dangerous opponent in the twenty-first and final year of his career. Entering his last tournament in 2006, he’s hailed for completing a stunning metamorphosis, from nonconformist to elder statesman, from dropout to education advocate. And still he’s not done. At a US Open for the ages, he makes a courageous last stand and delivers one of the most stirring farewells ever heard in a sporting arena.

With its breakneck tempo and raw candor, Open will be read and cherished for years. A treat for ardent fans, it will also captivate readers who know nothing about tennis. Like Agassi’s game, it sets a new standard for grace, style, speed, and power.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily, Agassi’s is one of the most passionately anti-sports books ever written by a superstar athlete.”

    New York Times

  • “Insightful [and] exceedingly well-written…[Open] has the cadence and plotting of a good novel…The raw energy and emotion throughout are pure Agassi.”

    Newsday

  • “Surprisingly candid…The baseline bad boy serves up his harrowing anecdotes with the same force he put behind every on-court ace.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Not just a first-rate sports memoir but a genuine bildungsroman, darkly funny yet also anguished and soulful. It confirms what Agassi’s admirers sensed from the outset, that this showboat…was not clamoring for attention but rather conducting a struggle to wrest some semblance of self-hood from the sport that threatened to devour him.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Andre Agassi’s memoir is just as entrancing as his tennis game…By sharing an unvarnished, at times inspiring story in an arresting, muscular style, Agassi may have just penned one of the best sports autobiographies of all time.”

    Time

  • “A remarkable and quite unexpected volume…self-aware, black-humored, eloquent.”

     New York Review of Books

  • “[A] heartfelt memoir…Agassi’s style is open, all right, and his book, like so many of his tennis games, is a clear winner.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • Open is a superb memoir, but it hardly closes the books on an extraordinary life.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “It’s both astonishing and a pleasure to report that Andre Agassi…has produced an honest, substantive, insightful autobiography.”

    Washington Post

  • “Agassi weaves a fascinating tale of professional tennis and personal adversity…His tale shows that success is measured both on and off the court.”

    New York Post

  • “Probably the most candid sports autobiography ever written…A remarkably real, tell-it-like-it-is, record-breaking read.”

    Advocate

  • “Refreshingly candid…This lively, revealing, and entertaining book is certain to roil the tennis world and make a big splash beyond.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An ace of a tale about how one man found his game.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2009 Washington Post Best Book for Nonfiction
  • A 2009 Entertainment Weekly Best Book for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 2/10/2014

    " If you have any interest in tennis, this is a really interesting read about Andre's life. I was surprised that I enjoyed this book so much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Felicity | 2/10/2014

    " A child prodigy, suffering his first loss, Andre realises "I've internalised my father - his impatience, his perfectionism, his rage...I no longer need my father to torture me...I can do it all by myself." He's troubled by contradictions - always the contradictions - "please let this be over; I'm not ready for it to be over". He hated tennis, but couldn't stop. He was desperate to escape the control of home, but got homesick when sent to the academy. As his mind and spirits darken, he discovers others are quick to judge who he is when he can't figure it out himself. He learns tennis is the loneliest sport in the world and that playing for a team is far more rewarding and motivating, not just the Davis Cup team, but his own team of trainer, coach, friends, family and later, his school. Still, the high after a win dissipates much faster than the low after a loss. His 'team' teach him to "control what you can control" and that he is the "Captain of his fate" (possibly another contradiction?) This is also a rags to riches story and to his credit, Andre gives plenty back to society. Despite his negativity, his achievements were huge, and for a high school drop out, he's a damned fine writer. I always wondered what was going on below the surface with this guy - now I know - plenty. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martha | 2/9/2014

    " I liked reading Andre's memoir, though it was a bit too detailed related to the specifics of the tennis matches. I enjoyed learning about the relationships he formed in his determined pursuit of continued excellence in the sport. The loyal and hard-working people he surrounded himself with deserve much of the credit for his successes on and off the court. I was pleased that he admitted that himself. All I know is that when Andre felt sad and dejected I felt bad, too. When he finally gets together with the girl of his dreams, I could almost feel the happiness myself. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jon Box | 2/8/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book--Agassi is from my era . . . back when I enjoyed watching Men's tennis. I found this to be a fascinating story--I never imagined he hated tennis, but can see it now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Minh Rodescu | 2/1/2014

    " Amazing book! A window into the life of an amazing tennis player. Gives you a "backstage" pass into the not-so-average tennis player's life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krissy | 1/20/2014

    " I enjoyed this book more than I thought. I am not a big fan of tennis, but it did not matter, was still fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/3/2014

    " We're always told, "Do what you love". Andre Agassi spent decades doing what he hated most, with results that often surpassed his level of emotional engagement. That's what makes this book an inspiration. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bhargavi Karumanchi | 11/23/2013

    " I found this book very inspiring and educative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate J | 11/22/2013

    " Great book for even a non-tennis fan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Collin | 11/20/2013

    " Amazingly Shocking book. Just Fantastic "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 11/3/2013

    " I know nothing about tennis, and hate sports in general, but I found this very engaging and interesting. I finished this book in 2 days! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kayla | 3/8/2013

    " I experienced every emotion one can hope for when reading a truly good book and finished it feeling moved and inspired. While I never watched a single tennis match of his, I can easily say I am an Andre Agassi fan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brigid Curran | 12/25/2012

    " loved this book and lent it out to many friends. A real story with no holds barred. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 12/3/2012

    " Loved this book! Love Andre! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie Doiron | 10/5/2012

    " Very interesting novel! My first autobiography read was definitely a good experience! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 sally smith | 9/30/2012

    " I couldn't even get thru this whole boring story. if you want to learn how andre plays tennis, this is the book for you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jordan | 9/28/2012

    " I know nothing about tennis and enjoyed this much more than I ever expected. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lula Belle | 6/20/2012

    " Pretty honest self-portrait. You've got to really love tennis to read through his play by play reports on his matches (I love tennis). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie X | 6/5/2012

    " Couldn't put this book down!! An honest book about a lovely man who worked so hard to be the very best he could!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zachary Rawlins | 3/8/2012

    " Not sure why I read this exactly - I've never cared about tennis, and I have never watched Agassi play. But the controversy caught my attention, and I'm glad it did. This is a very enjoyable sports biography, and an interesting portrait of a conflict athlete and public figure to boot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kimdwiens | 8/6/2011

    " Best book I have read this year ... I did not want it to end. I am surprised at what an emotional response I had to this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann Anderson | 7/31/2011

    " Terrific, even if you don't know tennis. The first chapter is the best account of a sporting event I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erin | 6/30/2011

    " I'm normally not a big autobiography fan, but this had me hooked form the first page. Great story, well told. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd | 6/28/2011

    " Probably one of the most interesting and honest autobiographies I've ever read. I'd definitely recommend this, even if you're not necessiarly a tennis fan. Really interesting to see Andre's view of his life and his tennis career. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marian | 6/26/2011

    " What a journey. You love him, you hate him, you feel sorry for him, you hate him, and then you love him again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edengrace | 6/21/2011

    " Really interesting read, especially if you're a tennis fan and followed his career. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jean | 6/21/2011

    " Loved it - thought it was well written and had a hard time putting it down. Completely changed my opinion of who I thought he was. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Smithbmd | 6/19/2011

    " Really enjoyed this. A pleasant surprise. My 5 star review should have an asterix because I laughed and cried reading this under the influence of margaritas at a resort in Mexico while on duty in the room while the baby slept. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cheri | 6/17/2011

    " The beginning sucked - what a whiner. But then it got really really good, so stick with it if you do read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Travis | 6/14/2011

    " This was a TERRIFIC read. A little long on the point-by-point description of key matches, but still very compelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stan | 6/11/2011

    " Loved this book and I am not an ardent tennis fan. Hard to put down and I would recommend it to anybody that likes a good biography. "

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About the Author
Author Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi played tennis professionally from 1986 to 2006. Often ranked number one, he captured eight Grand Slam singles championships. Founder of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, he has raised more than $85 million for the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy for underprivileged children in Las Vegas, where he lives with his wife and children.

About the Narrator

Erik Davies is an accomplished audiobook narrator and voice-over actor. His stage credits include G.R. Point, Unpublished Letters, and Flats Fixed. Some of his television and film appearances include ER, Third Watch, and a starring role in the hit indie comedy High Society: A Pot Boiler. His audiobook narration has won three AudioFile Earphones Awards.