If I have not mentioned it before… I am a tennis fan. And it is not a secret that I want to hide, but my favourite player, above all, is Roger Federer. I have read at least 6 books about Roger, about his life, about how he plays, about what can be learned from him. Anyway … in this case, it’s not about Roger but about Andre Agassi, another sport legend.
In case you don’t know Agassi, I recommend you quickly read his biography on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_Agassi not so much for his tennis career, but for his private life, which is as interesting.
Also, to better understand the person behind the tennis player, I recommend you visit the Tennis Hall of Fame website dedicated to Agassi: https://www.tennisfame.com/hall-of-famers/inductees/andre-agassi
The book tells, from the player’s point of view, how Agassi hated tennis since childhood and how he was forced by his father to train really hard. A story that can be said about many other greats within the sport, or other sports… or even other disciplines. Then he goes on to how he lived his career in the world of tennis, his ups and downs, his contact with drugs, his relationship with Brooke Shields and later with Steffi Graf. Everything’s in there… even the time when he says he was wearing a wig, and was more concerned about his wig than about winning the French Open.
The book is incredibly well written, and, I have to admit, at first I thought it was the same Andre Agassi who had written the book. He himself tells in his story that he went to school to learn nothing, since they made him pass without even going to class. Later in his life, he asks to interrupt his studies to concentrate on his training. I was very surprised that someone with these characteristics could create such a well-written book.
As I read the book and investigated Agassi’s life, I learned that it was actually John Joseph «J.R.» Moehringer, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._R._Moehringer American journalist and novelist, winner of the Pullitzer Prize, who had written the book. Great credit for making me believe that it was actually Agassi who had written the book, showing the quality of the writing.
Final comment: an amazing book with a life story that, even for non-tennis fans, will make them have a good time. But I don’t want to lie to you, if you do not like tennis, I think this book will not have the same impact, but the life of this man, as he wants to make it clear, is not only and exclusively about tennis. There is a man behind the racket, and this is his story.
Book quote: “Only boxers can understand the loneliness of tennis players – and yet boxers have their corner men and managers. Even a boxer’s opponent provides a kind of companionship, someone he can grapple with and grunt at. In tennis you stand face-to-face with the enemy, trade blows with him, but never touch him or talk to him, or anyone else. The rules forbid a tennis player from even talking to his coach while on the court. People sometimes mention the track-and-field runner as a comparably lonely figure, but I have to laugh. At least the runner can feel and smell his opponents. They’re inches away. In tennis you’re on an island. Of all the games men and women play, tennis is the closest to solitary confinement….”
Keep on reading,