Agassi book question

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by raiden031, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    How did Agassi remember so many intricate details of his life? He remembered how he felt after various rounds of different tournaments. He remembers going to some restaurant after losing a certain match, etc.

    I can't even remember what restaurants I went to during my last vacation.

    Was he writing notes the whole time?
     
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  2. rudester

    rudester Professional

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    I may not necessarily be included in this populace, however i understand some folks actually can remember such details with little effort.
     
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  3. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    I've heard Martina Hingis has a savant like memory for remembering things like break points, winners, errors and so forth, kind of like this. I guess it depends on your makeup.
     
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  4. beedlejuice22

    beedlejuice22 Semi-Pro

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    I'm guessing for the matches he mighthave used some Youtube videos or other videos. It really isn't possible to remember things like they are described in the book.
     
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  5. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    While some consider it a gift, people that have this "gift" (like myself) often wish that we could forget some things. Personally I can recall events with great clarity that happened when I was 3 years old. I am now 55.
     
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  6. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I can remember meaningful events, such as the details of my wedding rehearsal dinner, but probably 95% of various events in my life are just a blur.

    Has it been mentioned ever that Agassi has a photographic memory?
     
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  7. rod99

    rod99 Professional

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    i recall brad gilbert saying that he was amazed that agassi could remember so many different aspects of his past matches, even matches that were over 10 years old. while agassi was not highly educated, he's always been known to have a very good memory.
     
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  8. nickynu

    nickynu Semi-Pro

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    I once heard Jo Durie who was in the top 5 in the 80s can recall every point of every big match she played.
     
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  9. johnathan smith

    johnathan smith Rookie

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    Because dude has somewhat of a photographic memory.....and also remembers emotions in detail....

    He can re-cant matches from him junior days with scores to go along with them.
    I can't remember my matches last week....

    That book is awsome...I am reading the sampras book right now and it's dull and boring compared to OPEN
     
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  10. Fee

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    Funny, he seemed to completely forget that he played Scottsdale in 1999, and the real word he used to get disqualified from San Jose.
     
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  11. kingdaddy41788

    kingdaddy41788 Hall of Fame

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    My memory is horrible (and I mean HORRIBLE), but I can remember exactly what I did after some rough losses and some great wins - and keep in mind that mine were not anywhere near as significant as his...
     
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  12. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    That is interesting considering Andre has a such amazing memory that he can recall most all of the points from all of his matches. I think it has to deal with some periods of extreme depression where his memory and desire were not with him during the matches. He mentioned in the open book several such matches where he was thinking about other things, like the pending divorce with Brook, and not really even playing the match.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
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  13. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I enjoyed his recall of the Tarango matches.
    What a hooker.
     
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  14. Fee

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    But these are things that could have easily been researched. For me, it detracted from the quality of the book and I still haven't finished reading it. I suppose I should one of these days. It was given to me as a gift and I feel like I'm insulting the gift giver somehow by not finishing it.
     
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  15. Chadwixx

    Chadwixx Banned

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    Its all fluff for his sheep.
     
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  16. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    He's only writing about the stuff he remembers. He may have forgotten a lot of stuff, but how would we, or Agassi know.
     
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  17. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Fee, I actually wrote a number of long posts about this in another thread, about his comments on Sampras, that ended being shouted down by ridiculous agassfanboys...who didn't even know much about Agassi beyond the book. However, a few veteran posters and I noted some glaring omissions about controversial incidents, and even even entire people missing. There were also a few instances, where Agassi was not telling the truth...though it could be a case of self deception.

    It's hardly unique to an autobiography of course! I only acknowledged this, then took issue with those who actually argued:
    1.we have no right to question what was in or left out of, the book
    2.agassi is 100% totally honest and forthright, everything he said is automatically justified

    I enjoyed the book immensely, but he did leave out several major incidents...

    As to the OP, one thing that one writer noticed about Agassi a long time ago is that he does have an unusual memory for tennis points, at that time, he even claimed to be able to remember each one(this was early in his career), so I think he does remember matches well...even if HIS version isn't always quite what everyone else saw! ;-)

    Remember though, that the book had an entire staff behind it, it sounds like a bigger endeavor than many jock bio's (considering the writer), he even acknowledges having a rigorous fact-checker, and having various discussions over details, which obviously implies that the fact-checker's results were sometimes different than his account.

    I also have no doubt, that a lot of reality-based fantasy embellishment was done by the very gifted writer. Eg. Agassi remembers going to Restaurant X after match Y....he remembers something important he said to Steffi that time, or something he noticed.....he tells the author about that restaurant in general, he tells him what he remembers about the owner, the setting, etc. Writer then paints the scene using whatever detail Agassi remembered, general memories, and some artistic leeway. Agassi says "yep, that sounds right!"
     
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  18. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Heck, Fee, he forgot that he SHOULD have been kicked out of the USO in 1990 and only managed to stay in by openly lying to the Ken Farrar. Actually, Sampras' first USO final should probably been a showdown with Becker in the final...what a tantalizing prospect that would have been.
     
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  19. Joeyg

    Joeyg Semi-Pro

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    Fee is correctomundo! My son was one of the ball kids the night Andre was asked to leave the premises during the Cecil Mamiit match. Andre's language was a tad more colorful than disclosed.
     
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  20. Fee

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    One of the tennis writers, Cronin, Drucker, or someone, said it was not the verb involving male genitalia that got him in trouble, it was the verb he placed after 'mother'. Was that it?

    Wertheim pointed out that the most glaring omission from the bio is the breakup with Perry and the reasons behind it. The Scottsdale omission was most obvious to me because Agassi lost to Jan-Michael in that tournament and I was very curious to read his thoughts on that match, alas, it apparently never happened.

    Datacipher, I'll look for your previous posts on this topic one of these days. I wasn't staying up on that thread at the time, but you have an admirable persepective on previous eras of tennis and I would like to read your comments. Perhaps I'll finish the book before I dig up that thread. :)
     
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  21. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    I loved Open, great book. One of those books you don't want to put down until you are done.
     
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  22. Texastennis

    Texastennis Rookie

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    (Again) ... the break with Rogers was in 2008. The book ends in 2006. That's why it isn't in there. You can all look forward to reading about that in the sequel...
     
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  23. darthpwner

    darthpwner Banned

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    "Agassi is like Jesus"-Kafelnikov
     
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  24. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    LOL. Well, the thread as a whole was a write-off, again, shouted down by rabid fanboys (fangirls?).

    The break with Rogers is glaring, but I assumed it was too recent to make the book, HOWEVER, what the frick happened to Bill Shelton? He was Agassi's agent in the early years, and was close enough to be share hotel rooms with Phil/Andre/Nick and spend evenings singing songs for them. (just like Gil!)

    He apparently warrants no mention, and to this day, I've never seen the break discussed. Perhaps Rogers muscled him out, perhaps Andre was simply tired of having an entourage of Bill, Gill and Phil.

    And of course there were other incidents...pancakegate etc. The whole subject came up when somebody (maybe moosemalloy) mentioned that he found some passages misleading/dishonest...like when Agassi dismisses his catching of a ball in Davis cup as a non-inentional move, done simply because he had no choice/couldn't play the ball. It clearly wasn't, and it was clear back then, that his mindset in a couple of the ties was to "rub it in"....

    And of course...his entire omission of the subject of doping, of which, he has been surrounded by suspicion for quite some time...is....telling. Though I certainly prefer silence over a lie!

    In any case, I found the book entertaining, and remarkably candid on SOME subjects. However, one should never forget that this is THE most contrived and controlled of formats....plenty of time to edit and spin...an entire career in fact....with a professional writer.....this isn't truly tell-all, and clearly has serious omissions and a few...mistruths...and for all of Agassi's claimed evolved-sensibilities, a few points on which he is clearly bitter. (eg. a hearsay story about Sampras, dragged in a juvenile manner by Gilbert and Agassi out of a parking attendant, about Sampras giving a meager tip once, THAT makes the book??!) O...K.... while Agassi fans, and Sampras detractors try to defend that one, to me, it was absurd...though I find the slight bitterness that shows through towards other players to be one of the best parts of the book. Even through such a filtered medium, some of Agassi's true flaws still show through, and that's nice. It is human, even if not admirable.
     
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  25. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I agree with "In any case, I found the book entertaining, and remarkably candid on SOME subjects. However ..."

    I found it very interesting that Andre took some shots at both Connors and Sampras but left out Pancho Gonzales who caused quite alot of family stress over all those years. Just seems strange that Dad was painted as a tyrant and crazy man but nothing about Pancho who must have drove Mike to the brink of insanity.
     
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  26. GS

    GS Professional

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    Yeah, Agassi called a linesperson a "gutless mother******" three times in a row. The chair ump called Agassi over and asked him if he really said that. Agassi said, "Well, I'd be a liar if I said I didn't." Then he got tossed. A few of my friends paid good money to see Agassi that night---they were pretty mad afterwards.
    I won't buy his book until it goes down to 99 cents, used, at amazon. I paid that same price for Bollettieri's book, just to see if Agassi and Seles really stiffed him after all the free training, room and board he gave them. (Real class acts....)
     
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  27. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Good point Joe. Even his father's book said relatively little about Andre and Pancho....except that Andre is kind to his nephew....but one certainly wonders how he got along with *****ly Pancho..or what he thought of the whole marriage. I would have liked to even hear Agassi's thoughts on his game, surely he hit with Pancho. I recall Pancho praising Agassi's forehand when he first came on tour, but then, doesn't the father's book say that Pancho mocked Andre, and derisively called him a "shorty", downplaying his pro potential?

    PS. To be honest, the shots at Chang also stood out to me as really juvenile. Now Chang and Agassi never got along, and Gilbert and Andre were not exactly...sophisticates. In one article from a very pro-Agassi writer, he documented Gilbert and Agassi just sitting around ripping Chang with various childish elementary school level jokes about Chang's height, his girlfriend, his virginity, being cheap (ahem, sounds familiar? I wonder if he's cheaper than they allege Pete to be) etc. Later the writer speculates as to why...but he can't find a very...legitimate reason for Agassi bitterness towards Chang. (though I think the reason he ultimately arrives as it is correct: simple worry about Chang as a competitor) In any case, I didn't think Andre's religious snipes (constantly saying something like "praise Jesus!" after every mention of Chang), did anything but make ANDRE look childish...especially from a guy who used to openly claim Christianity for himself!
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
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  28. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Another odd thing that seemed a bit glossed over was that in his book, Nick claimed to have sent a rather heartfelt letter, even though he freely admitted that he should have done it another way. Nick then claimed they had a few very personal letters/conversations after the break-up....and even provided a copy of a very touching one from Andre, and he talks about some emotional talks they had, and the money issues they were dealing with. Agassi brushes it off in one line, with something along the lines of: then I got a letter that didn't say anything more than what I'd read in the paper...

    Naturally, Andre must be aware of these claimed letters and conversations, if Nick were lying about this you'd think Andre would have been itching to set the record straight! You'd think Andre would save a paragraph or two, if not pages, for this key moment...at least enough to say, "Nick claimed he left for X and Y, and Nick though he deserved Z and A, and he claims I responded B and C", but.....

    So...Bolletierri scored on that one in my mind. Andre dismisses the ENTIRE break up in less than half a page...Nick's is so detailed and emotional, that it rings FAR more true. (right down to strange oddities like Andre offering him sandwiches)
     
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  29. GS

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    Nick was a father figure to Agassi. When he sent that letter and dumped Agassi, sure, the kid was shocked. But after all the freebies he gave him and Seles, all he got from Agassi was a new Corvette, and later, 2 steak sandwiches at Wimbledon. Seles gave him nothing. Hey, I used to be an Agassi fan and thought Nick was way overrated---now, I somehow have more respect for Nick.
    Isn't it all about paying respect and your debts? In today's world of overpaid athletes and fame, I guess not.
     
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  30. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Exactly.
    Im very interested in hearing about how Pancho influenced Andre development. Surely such a great tennis perfectionist and GOAT category player could have really helped develop another all-time great. Pancho ofcourse gave Rita alot of help with her game and it then developed into a family affair. Im sure Mike would not want to give Pancho any credit. I need to read his book to get that side of the perspective. What was the title ?
     
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  31. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yeah, well I tend to agree. Look, I don't think Nick is any kind of tennis genius, but by everyone's admission, his support and encouragment was absolutely KEY to Agassi's route to the pros. Agassi may well have flamed out long before without Nick. Nobody disputes that Nick spent a LOT of time, traveling around with Andre, sleeping in hotel rooms with him (originally on Nick's dollars!), he deserved MONETARY compensation, once Agassi could afford it, and he REALLY could afford it.

    Seles, same story. They're account of the break-up was ludicrous. Everyone, Chris Evert, Tracey Austin, said that they saw Nick spend countless hours working with Seles, and that he deserved something! He brought their entire family over and they lived off him for years!! Then THEY claim that just as Seles was getting seriously successful, NICK BROKE IT OFF WITH THEM FOR NO REASON??! They actually said something like, gee, we just showed up at the academy one day and were told there were no courts for us....we had no idea why.....Yeah....right.....
     
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  32. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    It's called "the agassi story" by Dominic Cobello. I can't say I recommend it, but it is interesting and contains a few tidbits. Certainly, must be read with a critical mind...

    I don't think Pancho had too much influence over Andre....the father wrote that by age 15, he already suspected something was going on between Rita and Pancho who would have been around 47 at the time! He does talk about HIS relationship to Pancho, though he was completely estranged from Rita and Pancho for a long time.

    At one point, he even says Andre and Pancho had a lot in common as players....both known for quick reflexes, and both hit the heck out of the ball, (well..yes...I don't really see this TOO much but...)
     
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  33. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    "it didnt' take me long to realize that if Andre was going to make it to the ATP tour, he'd need more than I could give him. ANd so, just as I'd placed Rita under the tutelage of Pancho Gonzalez, unfortunate outcome aside, it was time for me to find a coach for Andre. The problem was there was no one in Vegas to fill the job. PAncho was out for obvious reasons. Besides, Gonzalez didn't think Andre had the goods. "He's a shorty," Pancho jeered. He figured Rita had been my best hope, and by then, she'd already retired.
    With regard to his views on Andre, however, Gonzalez was in the minority...."

    He then actually describes how Andre played Segura at age 11, and Segura ended up offering to coach him.

    In any case, Andre wasn't estranged from Rita, and surely he must have hit with Pancho at least a few times later on, certainly they MUST have talked tennis at some points....in any case, his BROTHER IN LAW is a goat contender....would like to have heard about the tennis relationship between them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
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  34. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    What you noted is all very true.
    I think the Andre was honoring and fearing his father to stay away from Gonzales. I dont buy the shorty story at all since Gonzales had to deal with Segura most of his career and Segura was one of the best hitters/players ever. I believe that both of the Pancho's help develop part of Andre's game even if the lessons were infrequent. Bollettieri's was more for the competition and regimented training.
     
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  35. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Andre's language in this book is sort of colorful as well. Not that he's swearing, but his descriptions are often super sarcastic and "colorful" in other ways. Like the time he's visiting a friend of Brook's in North Carolina, he describes the friend's grandmother being "ample breasted." If he's trying to enhance his image, he's doing a very poor job. He's no zen master here, he's way more acerbic than I ever realized. When he didn't like somebody, he flat out says it. No beating around the bush.

    As for omissions, I'm under the impression he's only writing about the stuff that he felt was pivotal in his life. Sampras barely goes into anything in his book, talk about omissions. Agassi talks more about Pete's lawyer girlfriend than Sampras does and he only mentions Brook goes shopping with her once. He talks about at least one time he was disqualified from a tournament, and he admits to swearing at an umpire. Not sure how anybody could accuse him of glossing over his past when he drops nuclear bombs in the form of wigs and crystal meth, two things nobody would have known about if he hadn't volunteered the info in his book, and in terms of the latter, something he took a lot of heat for. Not to mention underaged drinking, cheating at a carnival game, breaking into buildings, vandalizing, and tanking matches.

    He presents himself as an incredibly flawed human being. Or should I say, as a human being. In fact, he makes himself look so "bad" in the book, like such a flakey, emo twit, that around a third into it I began wondering why he was writing this. Now that I'm nearly finished, I'm convinced this book is for the kids at his school. There are little asides he throws in about how he felt insecure... for so many reasons... how he realized rich famous people are incredibly mundane, even boring... about transcending his background and lack of education... how he hit only made it through the help of his best friends... I really think he's trying to send a message to the kind of kids who go to his school, that their deprived living circumstances doesn't matter, and even if they make mistakes, that's okay, you can bounce back a better person. Just keep searching for what makes you happy. Even the guy whose name adorns the building you study in, the guy you see on the TV with the huge mansion, look at his life. Nobody is perfect. And you can always turn things around.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
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  36. 35ft6

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    Also, I highly recommend reading Pete and Andre's book back to back. They talk about a lot of the same events and people, and there's some serious Rashomon action going on. So interesting to hear how two very different people recollect the same event. In Andre's book, Pete seems like some kind of tennis ninja, just appearing out of nowhere to vanquish Andre in the most important matches. Pete seems almost like a god in Andre's book, way more human in Pete's book. I haven't gotten to the dollar tip part yet, but so far Andre is pretty kind to Pete. He's very candid about everybody, from his best friend's diarrhea of the mouth... to Brooke's vapidness... to Brad's hairiness... to his own egomania... Nick B.'s leathery skin and love of money... Pete gets off relatively easy so far. In one part, he talks about how much he realized he missed Pete when he came back to the ATP tour, and even implies that Pete might have tanked a bit to let him win.

    Anyway, if I needed a roommate, Pete Sampras all the way. He would be neat, not bother me a lot, and slightly distant. A drinking buddy, Agassi, but I wouldn't want to live with the dude.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
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  37. 35ft6

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    I haven't read a lot of sports autobiographies, but Agassi and his co-writer did a great job, it really is a remarkable book, and the writing is top notch.
     
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  38. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Excellent nutshell summary, Im pretty much in agreement with your points. Im also planning to read the Sampras book now that I finished the Open. Should be an interesting contrast, like their playing styles and personalities.
     
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  39. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    ^ If I had to sum up the difference between the books, IMO, Agassi's book is all about demystifying his life as a tennis god and Pete does the complete opposite. Pete continuously talks about "The Gift" as if he's a child of destiny, which isn't completely unjustifiable to say, but reading Pete's book, especially compared to the grittiness of Open, it's like you imagine all the scenes in slow motion, everything is epic, and you can hear the church choir singing in the background. Like Michael Bay should direct Mind of a Champion. Agassi's book, in contrast, is a small independent film full of a lot of dark stuff.

    And again, Pete seems so much cooler in Agassi's book. The way Agassi describes him, Pete is just this go-lucky tennis monster who effortless destroys people. He comes off pretty cool in this book.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
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  40. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I have no idea what that would mean. Must be a Russian Orthodox thing.

    "This is my body; this is my blood . . . image is everything."
     
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  41. LameTennisPlayer

    LameTennisPlayer Professional

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    didnt realise she was autistic.....a savant implies mental retardation
     
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  42. 35ft6

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    San Jose incident is in the book. He says he called a lines person a ****$%$er several times. Happy? :)
     
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  43. Fee

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    Yes, I know, I've read that far. As I said earlier, he got the word wrong. As explained in this thread, what he said in the book is not what he actually said in San Jose. Was my original post confusing somehow?
     
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  44. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    ^ Nah, just my typical skimming posts and not paying close enough attention.
     
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  45. Fee

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    ah, no worries, happens to all of us. :)
     
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  46. 35ft6

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    ^ Thanks. :)

    Fee, not sure if you've already said so in this thread, but do you like Agassi's book? Did you read Sampras'? I'm thinking about revisiting as many of the tennis books as I can find. Some of the best moments were when Agassi talked about something that Sampras also mentioned, it was kind of cool to read a second interpretation while the first was still fresh in my mind.
     
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  47. Fee

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    I have mixed feelings about his book so far, and I stopped reading it right before Christmas. I should probably start all over again instead of just picking up where I left off, I've kind of lost the feel of it, so to speak. The one thing that stood out in my mind about what I've read so far is Agassi's very casual mention of burning things in his hotel room after matches. To me, this was much more interesting than the hairpiece news and I'm curious why it wasn't discussed more in the media when the book came out.

    I have not read Pete's book, which is weird because he's my favorite player. I think I might have been turned off that he chose Bodo to write it with him. I should probably get my hands on a copy of it one of these days.
     
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  48. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I agree about the "burning things" weirdness--just kind of tossed in there. It's not like Andre tries to pass it off as normal, like he knows it's pretty strange, just not that big a deal. I guess that's one of the ways the very rich are different than you and me (or me, at least.)
     
    #48
  49. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    6,557
    If I made a list of every misguided thing he did in the book, the list would be VAST. There are so many admissions in this book I can see how the pyromania got lost in the mix. Now that you mention it, he talks about loving fire quite a bit.

    Agassi kind of reminds me of the South Park episode where two home schooled Christian kids arrive in town. In the end, one of the boys delivers a blistering monologue about how, and I paraphrase, "of course she's going to turn into a raging ****... you overprotected her... soon as she got a little freedom she went crazy..." Something like that. It's a cliche but it's something I've seen a lot, sheltered people rebelling in strange and inappropriate ways as soon as they are allowed a little control over their lives. Like people in their 20's and 30's doing stupid things "normal" people do as teenagers. Throw in wealth and fame and it's no wonder people like Lindsay Lohan exist. I actually kind of expect that, when a star is young and rich and seem completely normal, I'm amazed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
    #49
  50. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, I noticed that too Fee....but then again, young men do things like that sometimes, light things on fire just to watch them burn....

    One caveat, maybe the players in that hotel fire a few years back might not think of it so casually, let alone the people who were staying in the hotel that night, or the families of those who have previously perished because some idiot was playing with fire....lol

    I think the book is entertaining Fee, especially for someone as knowledgable as you, the catch of course is, it's a highly controlled image he's presenting, he's honest....when he's chosen to be....and it's easy (as you can see by some of the fanboys here) to mistakenly attribute a bit too much to Agassi himself.

    I'm kind of curious Fee, I've never brought this up before, but I wonder what you, and some of the other informed posters thought of Agassi's "speeches"...like for example his HOF speech for Graf, or, in particular, his final match speech....
     
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