Agassi book readers? I need to share my dissapointment with somebody!!

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by Oldracquet27, May 10, 2010.

  1. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Yes, that's all I ever tried to say about it originally. It is entertaining....but, partly because of that, and partly because of lack of critical thought, people (especially those who don't have extensive prior knowledge of Agassi or the situation) have a tendency to get sucked-in, and believe everything the book says. They also think if it's not in the book, then it's not important. Basically they get caught up drinking Agassi juice...Gil water....and that's pretty absurd. It's crafted beautifully to tell one side, and one side only: Agassi's.

    If one recognizes that, then it can be entertaining, and informative; but again, one must realize that they aren't getting the full picture.
     
  2. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Passing around samples of one’s own old sputum like museum relics, confessing, confessing, confessing, has long been suppsedly a cathartic exercise. It may also bee seen as the ultimate exhibitionists’s thrill. But this is light stuff. One of the main pillars of the Church, Saint Augustine, does a much better job of describing the youthful torments, the self-consuming lust and dissipation, the theft operations which he blames on bad company -- before he saw the light well into his 30s. But that was reading for theologians, a long time ago, and this is reading for post grocery shopping today. The sins are dull and silly. We learn the golden locks of the early days were actually a carefully arranged wig, raising apprehension on the disguiesed star that the hairpiece might come off during an important point, as he experimented with some stupefying substances and lied about it, professed public love for a game he scorned, harbored an acidic resentment for many colleages and members of his entourage, hated the breath of a trainer, the dullness and tipping habits of his main rival, the religious fervor of a Chinese-American teenager who had the effrontery to win a slam before him, the insufficient admiration his first wife bestowed on his admirable persona, the insufficient philosophical depth of Boris Becker...

    I say Saint Augustine did an infinitely better job of heavyweight confessing and efficient self-purification. Rousseau’s confessions are already pretty light and phony stuff. This is beyond silly. Mr. Agassi: cover your loins, they are nothing to write home about. Return that sputum to the drawer. Get a life.
     
  3. dcdoorknob

    dcdoorknob Hall of Fame

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    lol what???
     
  4. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Well said.
     
  5. hfmf

    hfmf New User

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    REALLY? Cause I think it's about the worst said thing that I've ever ever EVER read. I was wondering if he was cut n' pasting from somewhere until I saw his specific Agassi examples, but I didn't want to bother getting out my thesaurus and deciphering his way of talking.
     
  6. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

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    I read the book and was disappointed at the language he uses in the book. Since he is a tennis "idol" and has a lot of young adults that would read the book at least clean up your language. I have a friend that bought the audio book and he said the language was even in the audio version. You can say it in the locker room but leave it out if you are writing a book that kids will be reading. So he hates tennis, big deal. Guys hate working at a factory but do it anyway to make ends meet. If he wasn't playing tennis he have done some dead end job somewhere. He doesn't seem like he's that bright of a guy. I wonder how he thinks the kids view him at his academy in Vegas? Oh well that what you get from the "idols" of today.
     
  7. Chopin

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    Yes and your post is nothing short of absurd.
     
  8. Chopin

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    I’m not sure what all the outrage is about Agassi’s book. I understand that some people don’t like the book or don’t care for Agassi, but many of you seem shocked or livid at the book‘s contents. The actual writing is full of clichés and mediocre for the most part (though with a fine moment here and there), but did many of you actually expect anything different? If you’ve actually read the book, you know what a lackluster education Andre was given and yet there seems to be this expectation that AA should write like Nabokov. At the least though, the writing never got in the way of the story Andre was telling. Key phrase: story he was telling. This wasn’t Sampras’ story, it wasn’t Chang’s story, it wasn’t Becker’s story: it was Andre’s story. Which is the second thing you need to understand: the guy clearly wasn’t interested in giving a TV interview style account of his career, which was certainly not beyond his capacity to do. He could have had written a dull book like Sampras did and people would have said, “oh that’s nice,” but he wanted to do something more, something truer to his self. I give him a lot of credit for that.

    Now, should certain details have been left out? Details about his first wife, for example? Well, I would have suggested he leave them out had been editing his book Still, after reading the book I was left with a positive view of the man: he seems to be, based on his actions (and, yes, his book) a truly generous person. He’s not a creepy rich dude who scorns charities or the less fortunate. He seems like a person who can feel empathy for others, which is, perhaps, the most important quality one can have. I never thought he was whinny either, I simply believe he was telling us about his life, in very candid terms (and yes, from a certain point of view--but such is life), and explaining how he finally found contentment with himself and his life. At least one poster said that Agassi doesn’t seem like a very smart guy, and obviously he’s not a PhD candidate, but considering where the guy came from, where he went and where he ended up: I’d say he did pretty darn well, and perhaps found something more than just knowledge: wisdom.

    Best,
    Chopin
     
  9. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    ^^^Good post, big C. Knew you had one in you.
     
  10. Yenster

    Yenster Rookie

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    Wow really OP? This book has transformed my way of thinking of him, in fact, he's one of my favorite players now.
     
  11. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    That's fine Yenster. Just remember that the story you got was completely one-sided. Agassi left out a lot of things, misrepresented some others, and probably even lied (though perhaps he just remembers them incorrectly). So, take it with a grain of salt.
     
  12. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/...s-more-about-agassi-than-he-may-have-intended

    by
    oindrila mukherjee

    [exceprt]

    It’s not just the style that makes this a good read. The content, if you don’t mind detailed descriptions of some tennis matches, is fascinating. I grew up watching most of the matches mentioned here. I followed the careers and off-court dramas of most of the players. I feel like I know the characters in this book. Locker room gossip by an eight-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1. What’s not to like?

    I’ll tell you what’s not to like. Andre Agassi.

    If the book had a catch line, it would be Feel sorry for me. Poor little helpless kid forced to play tennis by his horrible monstrous father and the violent ball machine, The Dragon. Poor helpless, misunderstood teenager treated horribly at Nick Bollettieri’s boot camp. Poor neglected boyfriend and husband of a Hollywood star. Agassi seems to have suffered from a pretty severe persecution complex. Everyone was out to get him, the media, the fans, the coaches, the sponsors, the advertisers. NOTHING was his fault. Not the Image is Everything ad, not the marriage to Brooke Shields and subsequent divorce, not the matches he lost. And certainly not the drugs.

    In recent weeks, every interview I’ve seen of Agassi’s, he’s looked

    tearful and vulnerable. He’s begged for compassion from the likes of Martina Navratilova who have dared to condemn him, he’s gone on and on about how badly he needed help and how miserable he was.

    In other words, Agassi is a victim. He blames the media and sponsors

    for conspiring to project him as an image-conscious guy. Even the insistence that he hated tennis, with the constant rhetoric that he was forced into a career he didn’t want and a marriage he didn’t want seems tuned to the victim complex. Who forced him to shoot ad campaigns he didn’t agree with or to wear a wig when his hair was thinning? Who held a gun to his head, asking him to date or marry Shields? When he was 25, he could have quit tennis if he hated it so much. Surely he wasn’t worried about paying bills? A grown man with that much money and power can make some choices Andre.

    There’s another reason why people write autobiographies. To get back at people. Anyone who didn’t pander or enable or gush is the enemy.

    I can understand the fear and lack of trust for a pushy parent and we all know how pushy tennis parents can be. But what is the motivation behind describing how Mike Agassi would sometimes shove a fist up his nostril and pull out a bunch of nose hair? No really, why do I need to know that? As a fiction writer, the only reason I can think of is to make the character look more unsympathetic. I told you, it’s a well-written book. Towards the end, Agassi does soften his stance towards his father a little, but by then it’s too late. He’s already been established as an uncouth, ignorant man with severe anger-management issues, something of a savage who littered the roof of their home with dead hawks he’d hunted.

    Then there’s Brooke Shields. Not once, not for one brief second, does Agassi even wonder whether he treated her badly, hurt her in any way, or was a bad boyfriend or husband. It’s all about how shallow and vain she was, and how ridiculous Hollywood actors are as a group. He remembers being out of place in all the actors’ outings but never acknowledges that Shields may have felt just as weird with his friends. He self-righteously brags about walking out of her Friends shoot, saying that her character kissing Joey’s hand was “disgusting.” He confesses to having had no interest in her career, yet he implies that she was too selfish to support his.

    It comes as little surprise therefore that the early years of his marriage to Steffi Graf were all about him. How easy to gush about people who are at your beck and call. Agassi boasts about how Graf would rush home during the US Open to make lasagna for him. It’s very sweet that they didn’t have a chef and all, but really? Is that what it takes to win his love and admiration? The feminist in me cannot help but be bitterly disappointed, although I don’t know why I should have expected any different from Agassi. Maybe I just expected different from Graf.

    The fact is that Agassi has clearly identified the handful of loyalists and sycophants to whom he pays tribute in this book. If his tributes to Graf annoy feminists, then wait till you read about Gil Reyes. No doubt he’s a great trainer, but the endless gushing about how unbendingly loyal Reyes is, how he literally, physically, stood guard outside their house or beat up people who made a rude comment about Agassi in a bar, or told Agassi when he barely knew him to “stand on his shoulders” and reach for the stars, is a bit sickening. You have to question what led Reyes to be this subservient. It’s not a hard one, for Agassi was already a star, a household name, when the two met.

    A very telling moment in the book comes during Agassi’s last US Open in 2006. He comes out of a match, exhausted, and is instantly surrounded by Reyes, Graf, and coach Darren Cahill. All of them rush to provide him with whatever he needs, Cahill drives his car around, Graf clearly has the lasagna ready. Agassi puffs up his chest to drive home the fact that they were there as soon as he got off the court, ready to serve. This is what it’s ultimately about. The beck and call of the egomaniacal sport star. Are you in or out?

    One man who’s clearly out is Nick Bollettieri. But I remember how close they appeared to be in Agassi’s early days. He gave Bollettieri’s daughter soft toys. Now he says Bollettieri demanded the toys. Bollettieri coached him for free. Now he tells us he did it only because Agassi would draw more clients to his academy. Bollettieri has no redeeming qualities. Maybe that’s true. But what does that say about the posing and the facades of the younger Agassi? How do we know that a few years later, we won’t hear him trash talk Steffi Graf if they happen to split? When he’s lied about his hair and drugs in the past, why should I believe anything he says now?

    Speaking of trash talk, Boris Becker is a phony (how would Agassi know a phony?) intellectual, derisively nicknamed B.B. Socrates, Jim Courier is a jerk, Jimmy Connors is stuck-up and self-absorbed, Michael Chang is a weirdo who thanks Christ after each match. Agassi doesn’t just make fun of these people, he genuinely dislikes them. He says he really disliked Chang for assuming that God was on his side of the net. Hey, Serena Williams thanks Jehovah after every win, Juan Martin Del Potro makes the sign of the cross after every win. It’s understandable that in such volatile and intensely competitive situations, you might feel irritated by the smallest of things, and also that you’re human. But when you write it in a book, it sounds petty and petulant.

    Much has been said about how this book is meant to inspire people. The biggest lesson a young fan can get from reading it is that if you're rich and famous and powerful, in other words, if you're Andre Agassi, then you can get away with anything. If you get 2 speeding tickets within the hour, the judge will ask for your autograph and let you go. If you snort crystal meth and test positive, you only have to submit a written lie and the ATP with throw out the test results. And anyone who dares to cross you (or worse still, beat you in a tennis match) will have to pay when you write your autobiography.

    Perhaps no one will understand this better than Pete Sampras. Once again, in recent interviews, Agassi has said that he makes good-humored fun of Sampras. Someone please don’t tell me when Agassi’s in a bad humor. First, he takes pains to point out that how many Grand Slams you win is nothing compared to winning one on each surface. Everyone, he says, knows that.

    Then, he and Brad Gilbert take even greater pains to verify how much Sampras tips the valet who brings his car around. A dollar, says valet. Agassi drops his head in dismay. How can he and Pete be so different? In case you’re not sure what he means, fear not. He will remind you, several times, of all the great magnanimous things he’s done, rent cars for people (Gil Reyes), fly people to hospitals (Gil Reyes), build schools for people. Agassi even makes patronizing comments about Sampras marrying an actress. Agassi is a poet, he needs inspiration to play, he’s generous and soulful and deep. His main rival is a robot, a tennis machine. If Agassi is the saint, then who do you think is the sinner? That guy who won 14 Grand Slams but is clearly a lesser player because he missed the French.

    I guess you’re not supposed to like Sampras when you read this book. I guess it backfired a little because I don’t like Agassi.

    Despite all my criticism, the paradox is that I loved the book. And in the end that’s all that will matter to Agassi. The book will sell out. But as far as I’m concerned, the man sold out a long time ago.
     
  13. markwillplay

    markwillplay Professional

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    I guess I am in the monority, but I did not think Agassi slammed Pete at all. I thought he pretty much acknoledged that Pete was a half step better an every turn. I read the book twice..don't get it. I read Sampras's book to and found that he was very complimentary of Agassi..to a certain point.
     
  14. Gorecki

    Gorecki G.O.A.T.

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    agassi is a spawn of the devil. burn him... burn the sourcerer!

    medieval minds will like this!

    :rolleyes:
     
  15. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    That was one of the most hypocritical and silly points. Oh horrible Cannon...THEY did this to me! No...they made up a one-liner that people (media and fans) jumped on at the time because they perceived it really did reflect part of you. No? It didn't? Yet, you now reveal you lied in every interview, actually "hated" tennis, didn't tell the full story about anything, wore a toupee, felt as if the words in your interviews came out of someone else...gee...how dare people call you image-oriented?




    There's a LOT of this subtle character assassination in the book, the Sampras tipping story just being a glaring, more poorly integrated example.


    Well, I actually did think he sometimes portrayed how badly he treated her at times...he did talk about how he'd shut her out after losses etc. But yes, he did portray her as vacuous, with phony "friends".....and then there were the actual TV "friends"....hey, I personally hate the show, but he admits they seemed like they were trying to be nice to him, Mathew Perry was a ranked junior in Canada who always wanted to be a pro player...I'll bet they WERE nice to him, I'll bet thy wanted to like him....if he has a good reason for so condescendingly dismissing them, he doesn't reveal it in his own book...



    I don't. I have the feeling this is why it works...Graf shuts up, let's Agassi do whatever....if there's much else going on, it certainly isn't revealed in the book....in fact...for somebody SO important to Agassi now, she doesn't seem to have important opinions or impact on anything under than staying quiet because she "understands what it takes".


    Yeah...I already wrote extensively about Reyes. I don't mind Andre loving him, but why BLAST Etcheberry? He didn't do anything. Also somewhat troubling, having dear Gil HUNT people down and THREATEN them? He has to stand OUTSIDE all night on guard, till even he seems to be near break-down?
    A very telling moment in the book comes during Agassi’s last US Open in 2006. He comes out of a match, exhausted, and is instantly surrounded by Reyes, Graf, and coach Darren Cahill. All of them rush to provide him with whatever he needs, Cahill drives his car around, Graf clearly has the lasagna ready. Agassi puffs up his chest to drive home the fact that they were there as soon as he got off the court, ready to serve. This is what it’s ultimately about. The beck and call of the egomaniacal sport star. Are you in or out?
    NIck gets so glossed over it isn't funny. Love him or hate him, I think all of who know the full career, know he played more impact than that! Others like Shelton, who was a full-on member of the Agassi entourage for the first years, gets no mention at all. Ironically, Agassi goes on and on about Gil's singing voice...how close was Shelton? I remember an insider article on Agassi in which it was talked about Shelton's amazing voice, and how, Phil, Gil, Bill, Nick, and Andre would sometimes be holed up in a hotel room, listening to Shelton sing!


    I also wrote a lot about this. Agassi has often SLAGGED Chang throughout their careers....Chang is cheap, Chang's God, Chang copied my game, Chang is short, Chang is a virgin, Chang is mommy's boy, on and on.....in this book, mostly Agassi can only think to say something sarcastic like "praise Jesus" after mentioning Chang. This from a guy who promoted his Christianity plenty in the first years on tour....about a guy, who from all accounts, agree or disagree with his beliefs, actually seems to live them.

    Becker? A tennis player with no education, who tries to wax on philosophically, and portray himself as deep and troubled? Yes, get him Andre! Can't have any rivals in that department.

    Connors the jerk? Yes, he is. But you know what? Andre and especially gentle, wondeful brother Phil were often thought to be first class jerks by other players and the media during the first half of his career. Not to many of those stories in the book. I repeatedly swore, spit on an umpire, lied about it, and scammed my way out of default at the USO? Let's not mention it. I got caught trying to falsify a Dr's report, after I faked an injury to get out of a Davis Cup match? Not worth mentioning.
     
  16. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    ^^Tell us how you really feel, Data. Rolls eyes.

    I, too, read the book and while I truly believe that Agassi should have left many aspects of his first marriage out, I think you're being very unfair to Andre and blowing things way out of proportion. Unfortunately, your descriptions of parts of the book are very misleading. I'll quote from the book later to prove to show other posters how you're really misrepresenting things.

    Best,
    Chopin
     
  17. Chopin

    Chopin Hall of Fame

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    I agree. The tipping incident was a nice prelude to how Andre felt after losing to Sampras in the US Open final ("park my car, son.") It wasn't meant to bash Sampras, so much as it was to illustrate how Andre felt in losing to Sampras over and over again in big matches. Data says it was "poorly integrated" but it was one of the aspects of the book that was well integrated.

    At various points in the book Agassi has great things to say about Sampras' game, his work ethic and describes joking with him the locker room and always wishing they could talk more freely.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2010
  18. Qubax

    Qubax Professional

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    My thoughts exactly...I loved it.
     
  19. HBK4life

    HBK4life Rookie

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    I have told people this. I grew up idolizing the guy. Now as a grown up after reading the book I lost a little respect for him. Still admire the talent the comebacks. The thing that really killed it for me was not giving his all to win the 96 Aussie open because of another "war" with Becker. Id give my left foot just to have one grandslam and here he is throwing a match with Chang in the semis.
     
  20. VrafaV

    VrafaV Rookie

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    I disagree with #2, he was introduced to tennis by his dad. and his dad was a maniac, which did not make a good first impression on tennis for andre, so he hated it.
     
  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Andre Agassi was one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Imagine what he would have done if he loved tennis!
     
  22. baseline_monster

    baseline_monster Professional

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    Its easy to say he should love it, but he had it very hard at the academy and you do not know how that can effect a person
     
  23. superfittennis

    superfittennis New User

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    First of all Arm curls and benching are not too important for tennis players. They are beach muscles. Pat will tell you that the guy doing those exercises will be looking good when going to the beach but will not be holding the trophy on sunday!

    Agassi is a bit off base with his mention of Pat. First of all, Pat has a masters degree in exercise science, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (can not even attempt to take the exam without a bachelors degree in exercise science), and has obviously proven himself with dozens of tennis players and other athletes. I think that Agassi may be a bit sour about Courier and Sampras being in better condition than him???

    Pat was the head strength and conditioning coach at the University of Kentucky in the mid 80's and was a big reason why the basketball team was such a powerhouse and the players were always in top condition.
     

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