Agassi book question

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

  1. Fee

    Fee Legend

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    The fire thing still bothers me, made me wonder if he still does it sometimes, to relieve stress when no one is around (kids, Steffi, etc). I don't think he would be irresponsible about it at this point, but I wonder if that urge is still there.

    I have mixed feelings about Andre (I feel like I'm on a couch here ;) ). I was a Pete fan first, then I was Pete v Andre fan because it was usually excellent tennis, then I kind of got tired of Andre when the whole 'elder statesman, zen buddha' thing got started and wouldn't go away. Doesn't help that Justin has become pretty good friends with him so any time the subject comes up between us I almost expect to hear a chorus of angels in the background (I'm mostly joking...). Let's say this, of all the things that Andre has learned in his many years of professional tennis, controlling his image and the public perception of his image might have been the most valuable lesson of all.

    Kudos to both Andre and the publisher for getting such an excellent co-writer, but honestly, the book should have been called (Mostly) Open. Anyone who thinks it contains the whole truth and nothing but the truth is kidding themselves.

    I never saw the HOF speech that he gave for Steffi (I suppose its on youtube somewhere) and I only have a vague memory of his USO speech. I remember thinking that the emotions seemed genuine, but something he said at the time almost made me groan from the corniness of it. Wish I could remember exactly what it was... then again, I've never been in a situation like that and I was emotionally cheesy at my wedding so I suppose I can give him a pass for that one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
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  2. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    ^ His farewell speech at the US Open after his last match was kind of corny. It seemed a bit contrived. Part of it might be because he's pretty eloquent, and whether it's a guy at a bar, a salesman, or a lawyer, having a decent vocabulary can really work against you, people seem to instinctively associate plain speaking with honesty. Might also have to do with America's anti-intellectual bent, too, but yeah, some of the things Agassi says seems kind of TOO premeditated.
     
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  3. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, I think you're dead on. I think Agassi is probably basically a decent person, who tries to do the right thing, and tries to be thoughtful. Having said that, he's become excellent at cultivating that image...not that it takes that much in tennis...you just start saying and during some interviews, and keep winning...and...people eat it up!

    I found the HOF speech to be very corny, but nevertheless, OK, as a prepared speech. It was hardly the marvel that some made it out to be.

    However, the USO speech...YIKES....I cringed all the way through. I think mainly because it WAS clearly a prepared speech...

    I was thinking..."really??? How long did you spend writing and memorizing these corny lines? Was this part of your match preparation for each round?? Did Perry or Gil help you write this?? UGH!!"

    I honestly would have found a few simple, off the cuff words MUCH MUCH more appealing and touching. He obviously had true emotion there...that made it all the more awkard....genuine emotion with prepared lines clearly designed to be....CHEESY....and endear himself even more...or try to make himself seem more soulful. Actually, I would have found it FAR more touching if he had simply walked off court with tears in his eyes. Maybe that, and his blown kisses is the result of spending too much time around actors! In any case, I found the speech very insincere, which is a shame considering the emotions were probably very genuine.

    I came at Agassi/Sampras from the opposite direction, I was originally an Agassi fan, and a Sampras....shall we say UNFAN. However, as the years passed, I have foudn more and more to respect about Pete, and a bit less to respect about Agassi.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
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  4. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    A reader picking up an autobiography shouldn't be expecting a totally "fair and balanced" presentation. The subject's own story, told from their perspective? Even if they think it's completely "Open" there's that ego filter there. They're not out to write "101 Reasons That I'm An ***hole." For that you need the "unauthorized biography" kind of thing.

    One autobiography I remember reading that seemed full of self-loathing was by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Poppas. But then, from recent disclosures from his daughter Michelle he had lots of reasons to loath himself.
     
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  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, of course. As I tried to point out in the previous thread (about Agassi's remarks on Sampras) before various fanboys shouted it down, the autobiography is the MOST controlled and contrived presentation I can think of. Nowhere and at no time, will a person have more time, help, and ability to edit their presentation than in this format...and nowhere should the reader have a more critical eye. You'd think that would be self-evident to everyone...but...apparently it's not.
     
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  6. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    No idea what Datacipher is saying, you're probably responding to him, but I don't think anybody reads an autobiography and thinks it's a divine document full of nothing but objective truths. McEnroe's book was interesting to me for all the things I thought were dishonest. Sampras' was interesting for all the parts of his life he omitted and glossed over. Agassi's is interesting, likewise, for his interpretation of events. He makes himself look like quite the jerkface in this book. He admits to drinking, setting fires, lying several times, etc. Of course, he rationalizes his lies, but then again, who doesn't?

    Just finished it last night. Good book. Not sure if I like Agassi more or less than I did when I picked up the book. Never been a huge fan of Agassi. I started liking him more, actually, when he came back to the US Open for some champions night after his retirement and all he talked about was educating children. To me, the 3 most important domestic issues are education, health care, and, um, net neutrality, so maybe I'm biased but after hearing so many "I'm the luckiest man in the world" speeches from athletes, his really stood out.

    In the end he talks about his "transformation" from punk to elder statesman, and how he thought the journalist always got it wrong on that one. He feels like he never really became a different person at all, it's the same person discovering who he is. He was growing up. Thought that was a good point. Likewise, people often talk about him shaving his head as if it were a calculated symbolic act, but the dude was going bald. What's he supposed to do?

    Somebody I do like more after reading Open is Steffi Graf. Not sure why. I always resented her a bit for acting as if nothing happened after Seles was stabbed. Meh. The reasons why we like or don't like athletes is so weird. Don't even know the girl, but she comes off as being a shy person, raised, like Agassi, to be a championship horse. She's lucky to have met somebody like Agassi, IMO. He's not the right guy for a lot of people but he seems to absolutely worship her, and it's probably safe to say she's more out of her shell and living a much different life than if she had married somebody more like her dad.

    Gil is a saint in this book. Weird, I used to think Agassi was secretly gay and that Gil was his lover. I remembered I used to think that about halfway into this book at which point every time Agassi declared his love for Gil, every hug, every piece of gifted jewelry, took on a strange subtext. If anything, Gil is the love of Agassi's life more than Steffi. It's very cool for two straight guys to love each other that way. And Gil's training suggestions throughout the book, the way he changes the workouts as Agassi ages and his body changes, seem spot on. I was never sure about Gil, dressed like a Mafia hit man in Agassi's box. I heard he was his trainer but until this book, I always thought trainer might be coverup word for something else. But I guess he meant "trainer." Would be interested to hear what Verdasco thinks of the guy.

    Brad Gilbert also seems pretty cool in this book. If Open is ever turned into a movie, the character of Gilbert is going to be the funnest role to play (besides Mike Agassi I suppose...). Some actor is really going to have a ball with that role.

    And I don't think Andre likes Pete. That's the impression I was left with.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
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  7. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Written by 35ft previously:

    Seems like most autobiographies are a way for a person to have the final say on their reputation, almost damage control, a bit of revisionist history, a lot of rationalizing. Biographies will often tell a very different story than an autobiography on the same person. From what little I know, Agassi's book is remarkable in that it seems like a biography, like it was written by an independent journalist not afraid to demystify Agassi, to even tarnish his legend.

    My opinion of Agassi changed when I heard him give a speech at the US Open

    I know he's not perfect. He's no saint. And he has done some really weird, jerky things. But all the more amazing what kind of person he's become. I'm a skeptic but I'm not so cynical to think that it's impossible for people to change. And maybe change is not the right word. I'm sure the kind, thoughtful, altruistic side of Agassi has always been there, but maybe obscured and undermined by his incredibly strange upbringing.

    I don't think Agassi is trying to be provocative just to be cool. Some people are genuinely just more introspective and forthcoming. Again, I'm enjoying Pete's book, and I don't care if people are private. What I don't like about Pete's attitude is his hostility towards people who are less guarded, warmer, and more easy going. Do I think he's "honestly" like that? Absolutely. That's who he truly is. Do I think Agassi is being fake? No. I think they're both revealing their true selfs.

    So far just not seeing what all the noise is about. If you read the book, Agassi is unflinchingly candid in the way he describes people, feelings, and events.He's doing himself no favors. He comes off as pretty cocky. The only person who is talked about glowingly is Gil.
     
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  8. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Fee, the thread below is very long, and as usual, full of nonsense from various fanboys and the usual suspects (eg. chopin, 35ft), but there's also some great stuff from people like Kevin T, and Moose Malloy.

    You'll see where 35ft is coming from...the illogic, the extreme bias on Agassi and Sampras...the contradictory, and hypocritical conclusions he reaches from Sampras' book vs Agassi's.....etc.

    Ironically enough, he just posted a final post, admitting that Agassi is bitter towards Sampras....the very premise that started that thread (rolls eyes).

    Unreal.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=306661

    PS. Obviously, 35ft and I do not get along, but ignore the personal nonsense. He flamed out once with personal insults because I had POLITELY explained in several posts why he was mistaken about a few tennis mechanics issues. eg. Agassi could hit harder than Lendl, Lendl's backhand was biomechanically flawed...etc. He lost it a bit after that! ;-)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
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  9. SJP

    SJP New User

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    In defense of Agassi, there's no way he could be totally, ahem, open. If he were, the consequences would be great and he might bring down people unitentionally. Maybe that is difficult to understand for those with no frame of reference for professional sports. I do think he revealed some things with the intention of getting people to think on their own and maybe question things a bit.

    It's pretty difficult to be totally, ahem, open. Professional sports, junior tennis, whatever its not always what people think. Once you write something, there is chance it can be misconstrued, someone could read it and think badly of a former coach or whatever. When you start breaking codes of silence, which are very strong among athletes, it isnt about just you anymore. I think at the core, Agassi really is about helping people. So with that in mind, he has to step back and say, well I can say this, but i can't say that.
     
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  10. no1

    no1 Rookie

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    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA... 100% agree

    I felt the same way

    I don't think its a like/dislike; my take is that he has a great deal of respect for the way Sampras could play, especially in the big moments (as he had many times prevented Agassi from winning slam finals etc.), but was not someone who he would want to become friends with...
     
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  11. FD3S

    FD3S Professional

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    I actually think somewhat opposite; I remember reading that when Pete told Andre he was getting married, Andre wanted to open up and talk with him about a bunch of stuff, including marrying an actress, but theirs simply wasn't that kind of relationship due to the rivalry and personality differences; I believed him when he said he wished Sampras all the best, though. If anything, I actually thought that Andre wanted to dislike Pete, but simply couldn't - the dude may have kicked his ass a lot, but he never seemed like a jerk.
     
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  12. JoshDragon

    JoshDragon Hall of Fame

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    I'm not really all that surprised that he could remember all of those details.
     
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  13. Texastennis

    Texastennis Rookie

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    People's memories work in different ways. ! can remember lots of details of events, people, conversations from over the last twenty or thirty years ago. My husband can't remember what we did last week or who this person is who comes up to hug him like an old friend, but he can remember books he read long ago in great detail whereas I can remember reading a certain book but not much else about it. Whose memory is "better"?
     
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  14. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    You have to understand what that level of competition demands.
    Pete was most "friendly" with Jim Currier since they were hitting partners early on the tour and played dubs together. Even Pete admitted in his "Champions Mind" book that these friendships were basically ended once they were all competing for slams and the top rankings. This is the way of modern tennis with big $$$ tournaments and support teams for each player.
     
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  15. Rhino

    Rhino Legend

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    This was a great book, I really enjoyed it. I don't find it that surprising that he remembered the things he did, since they were so significant. I'd probably never forget how I felt as I was about to win Roland Garros either.
     
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  16. HBK4life

    HBK4life Rookie

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    I liked the book but at the same time some parts really bothered me. Here is a guy that had the hand of God touch him with tennis talent I would kill for and he is "boo hoo I'm Americas hope my dad was mean" I get that his dad was crazy but we all have problems. The one that really ticked me off throwing the Chang match in Australia in 96 to "avoid another war with Becker" Really Dre? Other than the Gold medal your 96 was garbage another slam would have been great for you. You beat Becker at the Open a few months before on a fast hard court. You would have killed him on rebound ace IMO. You have owned Becker for years man.

    I grew up a HUGE Agassi fan so reading stuff like that just rubs me the wrong way. It also makes me appreciate how great Sampras was and what a better professional he was.
     
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  17. DMan

    DMan Professional

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    It's well known that Agassi has an excellent memory, especially for details about his matches. He is not alone in that regard.

    Of course in writing his book he could be selective about what memories he chose to put in the book.

    Now here's a little tidbit to prove his memory wasn't fool proof. He talks about the days following his separation from Brooke, and playing int he Indian Wells tournament in 1999. He says he saw Steffi Graf playing Serena Williams under the lights. Well, Graf and Serena played at Indian Wells, but not at night! Their final was played under the glaring sun in the middle of the afternoon!

    I don't doubt Andre recollected seeing Steffi play at Indian Wells. And not surprisingly he didn't get it exactly right, since it wasn't him playing. Graf did play a semifinal at IW at night, and she also played Venus at night a few weeks later in Miami. But not even Steffi caught the tiny miscue in the book about her "night match" with Serena.
     
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  18. Jeannie_Berry

    Jeannie_Berry New User

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    i hope to buy agassis's book real soon.
     
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  19. Rick_Bremer

    Rick_Bremer New User

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    I definitely agree with you. those individuals who can recall every details of their experiences are truly gifted. unfortunately only a few individuals obtain this talent. :) and maybe Agassi is one of them. So lucky of him! :)
     
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  20. James_Sallisbury

    James_Sallisbury New User

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    You wont regret if you buy a new one. lol. I am not promoting his book, its just that it speaks a lot about the real Agassi and some stories there are even opposite to what people seen during the bloom of his career. :)
     
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  21. Rick_Bremer

    Rick_Bremer New User

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    me either. :)
     
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  22. Robert_parker

    Robert_parker New User

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    maybe he got a photographic memory then or else he wouldn't recall everything that was written in his book, unless if he was writing a diary since the moment he learned to read and write.
     
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