Book Review
By Séamus Smyth

Open. A term attached to the most prestigious tennis tournaments across the globe. The title of tennis legend Andre Agassi’s biography refers both to these championships, but also to the explicit candor that he chooses to use throughout this memorable read.

Agassi was a tennis protégé who turned heads with his flashy attire and sometimes brash attitude. His marriage to Brooke Shields turned him into one of the 90s most star-gazed athletes and is a subject that Agassi has no issue discussing, from its conception right up until its seemingly inevitable destruction.

Agassi professes that he hates tennis. Yes, the sport that he has become synonymous with is actually the chief source of all that he loathes, despite the fortune and stature that the sport has showered him with. This may sound like a spoiler, but this disdain is carved into the first page and is one of the central themes of this revel of a book.

Whether or not he truly hates the game is certainly up for discussion. He is aware that tennis is the path that destiny, or perhaps more accurately his father has clear out for him. Knowing that he can’t possibly fight what appears to have already been pre-determined, he exerts every ounce of energy into becoming the world’s best.

Rarely is the struggle to be ranked number one in the world ever captured in such vivid description. When Agassi loses a certain tournament that is best to not say at this moment, it tears at him not just for weeks, nor months, but years. His incredible training routine, especially into the later years of his career, is again explained in such visceral language that the pages at times appear to drip with the American’s sweat as he yearns for glory.

His intense rivalry with Pete Sampras is another treat for the reader, especially avid tennis fans who relish the chance to hear Agassi’s perspective.

Reading Agassi’s story feels natural, like a pure athlete’s stroke across court. Even for those not familiar with the game of tennis, many will still appreciate the raw attack that “Open” takes to successfully translate one of the great athletes of our time’s experiences onto crisp paper.

Advertisements