With a membership to Amazon Kindle Unlimited you get a 3-month trial of Audible. Audible has some really good books. The first book I decided to get from Audible is Andre Agassi‘s Open.
This book begins with Agassi discussing his childhood in Las Vegas. Based on Andre’s descriptions, his father is a crazy man. He had built a tennis court in his inexpensive home to have his kid practice all day. His father had also built a tennis ball machine that Andre Agassi refers to as “the Dragon”. At 10 years old, Andre is hustling people through tennis. In one part of the biography he hustles Jim Brown.
Andre Agassi did not want to play tennis, but his father sent him to Nick Bollettieri’s academy when Andre was only 12 years old. Nick has worked with Jim Courier, Monica Seles, Maria Sharapova, the Williams Sisters, Anna Kournikova and Boris Becker to name a few. The camp is described as a prison war camp. Agassi is rebellious, but he is too skillful in tennis to get kicked out.
Andre Agassi did not have the best relationship with his first wife Brooke Shields. She’s an actress/model that graduated from an Ivy league school. Andre is a tennis superstar who doesn’t find much importance in education. Based on the biography it never seemed to be a great relationship to begin with. Andre Agassi’s decision to get a divorce seemed to happen shortly after Brooke Shields asked Agassi to stop seeing certain friends because they were no good for him.
Andre’s friends were the most important people in his life. The two closest individuals to him were his trainer Gil Reyes and his coach Brad Gilbert. These friends are important to put things into perspective for Agassi. The one recurring theme that makes the book so interesting is Agassi’s psyche. He describes tennis as the ultimate war between two individuals. It’s not a team sport, so the competition becomes very personal. His father was a former boxer and Andre Agassi describes tennis to boxing. Beat or be beat down. He refers to money not being able to buy happiness, but never believing it until he sees it himself.
Agassi soon discovers that he can only find happiness when he is able to help other people. He also begins a relationship with Steffi Graf. Unfortunately, Graf is seeing someone else at the time. However, Agassi is persistent. Eventually, they do start dating and get married and have children. Ironically, Graf’s father is similar to Andre’s. Both father’s are forceful individuals and in the book Agassi discusses how the father’s were very close to exchanging fists.
Agassi’s ultimate charitable contribution is a school that he has built for poor families in Las Vegas to send their kids to.
The book is lengthy, but well written and very entertaining.