Wednesday, 29 April 2015

BOOK REVIEW : OPEN by ANDRE AGASSI





Hello.....
Lets start this post by talking about a simple yet interesting game which I am sure we are all very familiar with... It starts with one person saying a word and the others have to tell the first thing that comes to their mind, associating with that word!!!
"Lawn Tennis".. Steffi Graff and Andre Agassi, these are the two names that pop in my mind whenever "lawn tennis" is mentioned!!! My big big dream is to watch these two living legends playing tennis in the centre court , during the Wimbeldon ( be it a friendly match or whatever)while I relish strawberries and cream... Ahhhhh!! How I wish this dream of mine comes true... And I would love to take Papa along, a true sports fanatic...
When it comes to sports and the Jain( my maiden surname) family, its like the Jains can never have their fill of sports!!! As far as I can remember I have always seen Babaji ( paternal grandfather) Papa and Chacha ( paternal uncle) watching one or the other sporting event on television. In this respect I am the black sheep of the family who runs miles away from anything to do with sports!!!
Lawn Tennis is the only exception and that too because of Agassi and Steffi..
OPEN, an autobiography by Andre Agassi , caught my eye in a book shop and was brought instantly. For the record this is the first autobiography read by me and what makes it all the more special is Agassi himself.. He was my first "sportsman crush" and it was HUGE!!
Watching tennis matches on television I used to go all "wow", finding it all very stylish and glamorous.. Beautiful people playing the game, awesome prize money and the glitzy after event parties!!!
But on reading 'Open' the first thing that struck me was the deep connection of pain with tennis.. The excruciating pain in the back or the wrist or the arm or the cramps in the calf muscles or stomach!! The way Agassi writes about pain being his constant companion  and spending many a night sleeping on the floor, as its better for his back makes me look beyond the glamour and really really respect sportsmen and the rigorous hard work put in by them to reach the top...
Another thing that struck me was the deep hatred which Agassi had for tennis. This revelation took me by surprise and what's even more surprising was to know that even Graff was never in love with tennis... But again I guess its only natural.. Agassi's father was a real taskmaster and he would make Agassi practice all day long without letting him relax and would always find fault with his son's palying technique. He was never satisfied with Agassi's achievments. Infact during Agassi's childhood, his father would encourage him to miss school.. His logic being "no school meaning more hours of tennis practice!!!!"
The book is a heart touching story about Agassi's journey through the big bad ugly yet beautiful mesmerising addictive land of Lawn Tennis.. Its heart touching as Agassi has written from his heart and he writes it as it was.. Meaning neither does he glorify any win nor does he downplay any loss.. He writes it without mincing the words.. Straight from his heart!!
He talks about his hatred for the sport yet he feels the pull and is unable to give it all up right till the very end... He only quit the game when he thought it to be the correct time and not when others wanted him to!!!
The autobiography makes for an interesting read with Agassi writing about his rebellious days, his struggles, his love-hate relation with his father, his love life, equation with his peers. I respect this guy all the more ever since he admitted taking recreational drugs in the year 1997 in this book. By disclosing this, he was putting everything at stake - his career, his ranking, his wins, his fan base, all that he had worked so hard for!!! But I really appreciate his honesty.. A true man!!!!
The best part of this autobiography besides Agassi and Graff's romantic story is the part where he writes about his dream project of building a school in Vegas and how he got his dream fulfilled.. It gives me a warm feeling to read about this awesome side of Agassi, who despite of being a school dropout could visualise such a unique concept of a school.. I would love to visit this school whenever I visit Vegas.. Another item on my "to do list"!!!
See, I agree I am biased when it comes to Agassi, so naturally I will find no fault in this autobiography. But,seriously people , it is a very engaging and thrilling book which you will not feel like putting down till you reach the very end:))