Open is not only the best sports autobiography I ever read, it’s one of the best biographies I ever read and one of the best books I read in the past few years!
As I am in Buenos Aires for three weeks on business, I am on a book reading binge. Open was the third book I read in three days, but the moment I started, I knew this book was going to be different and I could not put it down.
Autobiographies of famous people, mostly written by ghost writers, are usually terrible. What first struck me about Open is how well written it is! In addition, it has a raw honesty that draws you in. You feel what Andre is feeling at various points in his life – the highs and the many lows.
I am a huge tennis fan and have always been an Agassi fan and clearly remembered many of the matches he recounts which made the story even more poignant. It’s shocking to learn what it was like for him – it’s so different from what I imagined it would be. I could not fathom someone hating tennis as much as he does succeeding at it as much as he did. It’s also interesting to see how little input he had in creating his public image. He did not participate in elaborating the “Image is everything” campaign. He just said the words for the ad, not imagining the campaign would come to define him. Likewise, none of the image changes perceived by the press were orchestrated; they were just what reporters thought they noticed from the outside.
I loved every part of his book: his childhood obeying his father while fighting the “dragon”, his matches, his courtship of Stefanie, his charter school, the humbling meeting with Mandela… You don’t need to be a tennis fan to enjoy the book as his struggles are all too human with a positive wrinkle as we know the story has a happy ending.
The story is inspiring and a tribute to perseverance. Read it, you won’t be disappointed.