Open is the autobiography of Andre Agassi, a tennis prodigy and eight-time Grand Slam and Olympic champion. Agassi, now retired, lives in Las Vegas with his wife Steffi Graf, and their two children. He runs the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free charter school for at-risk children.
One of the first pieces of advice that Brad, Agassi’s coach between 1994 and 2002, gave him was that he didn’t have to be perfect all the time. Brad says, “You don’t have to be the best in the world every time you go out there … There’s about five times a year when you need to be, but it’s not those five times a year that make a tennis player.”
Agassi helps a friend out…
In 1996 Agassi used a portion of his Nike sponsorship money to help pay for Frankie’s kids college education. Frankie is a life-long friend and owner of Campagnola, Agassi’s favourite restaurant in New York. Agassi says the act educated him and made him feel more alive and himself than anything else in 1996. He says, “This is why we’re here. To make each other feel safe.”
Mandela on being careful…
Agassi met Nelson Mandela in Cape Town in 1997. After a private dinner Mandela spoke about caring for one another, ourselves, being careful in our decisions, careful in our relationships, careful in our statements, and careful in managing our lives.
“Tennis is about degrees of aggression. You want to be aggressive enough to control the point, not so aggressive that you sacrifice control and expose yourself to unnecessary risk”
“Simply knowing your enemy is a powerful advantage.”
“Few of us are granted the grace to know ourselves, and until we do, maybe the best we can do is be consistent.”
“Finally, Mandela talks about the road he’s travelled. He talk about the difficulty of all human journeys – and yet, he says, there is clarity and nobility in just being a journeyer.”
“If you’re going down, OK, go down, but go down with guns blazing. Always, always, always, go down with both guns blaaazing.”
The dimensions of a tennis court are 36 feet by 78 feet.
In his early teens, Agassi took classes on mental toughness, positive thinking and visualization at the Bollettieri Academy.
Pete Sampras and Agassi first met on a tennis court in juniors when they were nine and ten years old respectively.
Andre on Twitter