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The Wimbledon Fortnight – Day Eleven: Open

Here's another autobiography by another famous and well-loved player: Andre Agassi (yes, that guy with the massive hair!).

Andre Agassi. He’s one of the most successful players ever, famously married to Steffi Graf, who’s even more successful than he is. He was quite famous for his enormous head of long, flowing hair back in the nineties, but I – which only goes to show just how young I am – only know him bald-headed. His hair, actually, is quite a major theme in his autobiography. Want to know whether he’ll discuss tennis at all? Read on!

Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open has a terribly ugly cover. I like to think that this was done on purpose, to show that the content won’t be that pretty either. The title hints to this as well; it could refer to the fact that he’s won many titles, including the US Open, but it could also mean that he’ll finally open up about his life – something which, apparently, has not done before.

No tennis player is the same, just as no single person is quite the same. It becomes clear straight from the start that Agassi’s life is quite different from other players’. While many of them, like Federer, are in love with the game itself, and cannot imagine a life without it (even though McEnroe, at one point, aspired to be a rock star), this was definitely not the case for Andre Agassi. He hated every single second he was playing tennis, because he had been feeling constant pressure ever since his father considered him a talent at a very young age.

That’s all I know. If I’m really honest, I haven’t read the book yet. I only bought it last week because of Wimbledon, but Open really intrigues me. Mum the tennis nut, however, has read it, and told me it was really good – interesting, entertaining, and, above all else, shocking. He admitted to doing drugs, he was absolutely clueless both on and off the court, suffered from mental illness, and he was ashamed about the fact that he was losing his hair. But eventually, Agassi quite literally found a guardian angel, who would later be his wife: Steffi Graf.

I bet no single novelist could make up this fairy tale: the rebel child prodigy who is slowly but surely hitting rock bottom, but who is in the end rescued by love. Much more than John McEnroe’s autobiography (which, let’s face it, is mostly entertaining even if it mentions some serious issues), Open seems to be about a real struggle, the choice between doing what he’s good at but which he hates, or facing his fears and trying to find out what does suit him. It sounds so intriguing, and I can’t wait to read it.

Have you read Open? What’s your favourite tennis autobiography? Do let me know in the comments! Also, don’t forget to follow me for more book-related posts!

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