Autobiographies of professional tennis players

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Blocker, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. Blocker

    Blocker Semi-Pro

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    My wife bought me an iTunes gift card. I decided to buy, through iBooks, Andre Agassi's autobiography, "Open", which I found an extremely good read. I loved how he was brutally honest, in particular, his grudge against Becker and his tanking match against Chang to avoid playing Becker.

    I still have plenty of credit on my gift card, I was just wondering if anyone can suggest some other good autobiographies of professional tennis players? Does anyone know the name of Sampras' autobiography, I can't seem to find it on iBooks.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. joeri888

    joeri888 G.O.A.T.

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    I think there's no book out there as honest and interesting as the Agassi one. Certainly not the Sampras biography (it does not compare) and not the Roger Federer story (quest for perfection I think its called) which are reasonably entertaining at most, and only if you don't know what is already publicly available about them. The Nadal book I haven't read. I can imagine it being interesting if you are a big fan of his. I'm not, so it doesnt attract me.
     
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  3. Blocker

    Blocker Semi-Pro

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    Thanks joeri. No not really a Nadal fan though I do enjoy watching him play. And yes apparently Agassi's is the most frank of all the autos.

    But I still wouldn't mind reading the Sampras auto, would like to read what he has to say about Agassi and his coach etc.
     
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  4. Roddick85

    Roddick85 Professional

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    I read the Agassi/Sampras/Nadal biography. Agassi is by far the most honest and interesting of the bunch. The Nadal one, I have mixed feeling about, for starters his career isn't over yet (at least officially), and I feel the book is lacking in content. Still some of the parts were interesting, but it doesn't compare to Agassi's. A good read for big Nadal fans.

    Sampras bio is the most boring of the bunch I found. There's way too many pages that are just wasted on tournament statistics and scores. Not much content in there too. As much as I loved Sampras game back in the days, his book is as interesting as his on-court attitude/emotion.

    If your looking to get only one of them, my vote would go to the Agassi bio.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
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  5. TennisLovaLova

    TennisLovaLova Hall of Fame

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    Nadal's book was really diappointing. Read it just after agassi's, so I can tell the gap.
    Nadal's book is only a long resume of the 08 wimbledon final.
    Nothing really crusty about his personnality or his emotions. Just the usual hate to lose, relationship with uncle tony, family divorce.
    Really not a good read imo.
     
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  6. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    One tennis biography is plenty! "Anna Karenina" is a terrific novel, or if you prefer non-fiction I'm told Stephen Hawking's last book "The Grand Design" is very compelling.
     
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  7. Bergboy123

    Bergboy123 Semi-Pro

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    The one by Blake is pretty good!
     
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  8. kishnabe

    kishnabe G.O.A.T.

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    Agassi book is my favourite....can read it 2-3 times and not get bored. Very smooth.

    The Blake and McEnroe ones are exceptionally good as well.

    The Nadal, Becker, Nastase, Murray ones aren't that great.
     
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  9. Ms Nadal

    Ms Nadal Semi-Pro

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    I have Agassi and Rafa books. Both good reads but as said Agassi's is more honesty. For me, reading the Rafa book was kinda sad because he talks about his insecurities too much :(
     
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  10. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Roscoe Tanner's is pretty good.
     
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  11. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    I'm don't like autobiographies that are written during a player's career. I wish that players would wait until after they have retired before working on them, as that way we get the full picture.

    Here in the UK, many footballers release autobiographies when they haven't even reached their mid-20s yet and have barely anything interesting to talk about.

    Obviously I understand why players like Nadal and Murray want to release autobiographies so early on in their lives and careers, to cash in, and they can't be blamed for that. I imagine that they will release second autobiographies after they have retired, but I doubt either of their careers and lives are interesting enough to merit 2 separate books.

    Similarly Borg's autobiography, My Life and Game was a very enjoyable read. However it was released at the end of September 1980, and ignores his 1981 season and his various troubles from that year and beyond. Thus his book is simply incomplete.

    Agassi's and McEnroe's autobiographies were both brilliant, and I've re-read them both a few times. I liked a Champions Mind by Sampras well.

    I next plan on reading Becker's and Seles's autobiographies, in the case of Seles her second book 'Getting a Grip'.
     
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  12. veroniquem

    veroniquem Bionic Poster

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    Gizo, I agree and for best perspective it's even better if they wait a while after the end of their pro career. They have to feel free to draw a balance sheet and touch on sensitive issues.
     
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  13. Gizo

    Gizo Hall of Fame

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    Yes I completely agree. For instance if Agassi had written his autobiography in 2001, would he have been as open and honest and written exactly what he thought of guys like Sampras, discussed all those stories about Gilbert and most notably talked about the whole crystal meth saga. God no because no player is going to be so brutally honest in a book when they are still on the tour.

    I hope Nadal does release a second book after he has retired, because as well as giving the full picture of his career, he will feel more freedom to openly discuss his thoughts towards his rivals Federer and Djokovic, his feelings towards Uncle Toni and their coaching relationship etc. I felt like tennis fans missed out with one of the biggest superstars the sport has ever seen, Borg, not releasing a post-retirement autobiography.

    I cannot wait for Connors's autobiography to come out next Summer.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
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  14. Paul Murphy

    Paul Murphy Hall of Fame

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    Well written books on players in the modern era are rare unfortunately.
    One of the Nadal books I have was written by a clown who clearly knew little about tennis and kept writing that during matches Nadal was "all action".
    What rubbish.
    The Agassi book is actually a fine piece of writing, the best by a very large margin.
     
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  15. Migelowsky

    Migelowsky Rookie

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    the name is:
    A Champion's Mind: Lessons from a Life in Tennis.

    I started to read it and I couldn´t continue, it was just boring to me.

    On the other hand, Mac´s "you cannot be serious" was very entertaining.
    Other good books that I read are:

    Mr. Nastase Illie Nastase
    Getting a Grip: On my body, my mind, my self Monica Seles
    Breaking Back James Blake
    Open Andre Agassi
    Coming of Age Andy Murray
    Rafa John Carlin and Rafael Nadal.

    Days of Grace by Arthut Ashe is interesting, but maybe a bit too serious , is not a fun read in tennis terms, I guess depends on the personality and Ashe was involved in so much civil and political movements that there is a lot more than tennis.
     
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  16. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    Yeah, Andre's was by far the most entertaining.

    Rafa was interesting too I guess. My favorite part was when he said something like "I've been telling everyone, Novak Djokovic is a dangerous player, he'll be causing me and Roger trouble very soon"

    Considering I read this after the USO final last year I just laughed and said "You have NO idea"
     
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  17. Rhino

    Rhino Legend

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    I've read a load of these books (Agassi, Becker, Sampras, Blake, Rafa, etc) and my favourite was "Break Point: The Secret Diary of a Pro Tennis Player" - by Vince Spadea.
     
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  18. RAFA2005RG

    RAFA2005RG Banned

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    Well, Djokovic only caused 10 months of trouble (2011 Indian Wells - 2012 Australian Open). Nadal has won their last 3 meetings, and none of those 3 matches went to a deciding set.
     
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  19. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    Agassi's book was very entertaining. Pat McEnroe also put out an interesting book and I enjoy big brother John's auto as well.

    The books from the 80' and 70's about the tour are better - Courts of Babylon for example.
     
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  20. RAFA2005RG

    RAFA2005RG Banned

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    I read Agassi's autobiography "Open", and I found it superb. And I had already read a very detailed biography "The Agassi and the Ecstasy". The fact that I learned A LOT of new things in every chapter of "Open" is impressive, considering how extensive "The Agassi and the Ecstasy" was. It shows how honest Agassi was. Whereas I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger on 60 Minutes and he admitted that he had many affairs and that he didn't include them in his book. That was disappointing to hear. I definitely won't read Arnold's book, now that I know its not completely honest.
     
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  21. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    This has come up before, I always liked Pam Shrivers from the late 80s, pretty candid.
     
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  22. Great Uncle Bulgaria

    Great Uncle Bulgaria New User

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    Personally, I think autobiographies are best written after a player's career is over and they have had a chance to look back and reflect. Also they can be honest without having to think of their image/sponsors etc.

    I don't read many autobiographies but I really enjoyed John McEnroe's and came away with the impression he was being honest about himself. It was also well written. Nadal's, and I speak as a fan, was pretty bland but still worth a flick through.

    At the risk of repeating myself the two biographies (auto or not) I would like to read are Lendl's and Edberg's.

    General tennis books

    Courts of Babylon - good but I remember it had some factual mistakes that even I managed to spot. Also the author came across as a bit self-righteous.

    Hard Courts by John Feinstein (?) - Brilliant; insightful and well written

    Strokes of Genius, Jon Wertheim's book about the 2008 Wimbledon final, I liked a lot too.
     
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  23. galain

    galain Hall of Fame

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    +1 - also a great read. I couldn't remember the title when I made my other post. I'd highly recommend this one as well.
     
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  24. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Many good ones - Hard Courts, Patrick McEnroe Hardcourt Confidential, Sampras, Agassi Open, Marcelo Rios The Man We Barely Knew, Vince Spadea Break Point, Federer by Rene Stauffer. The Rios and Spadea books were very uniquely done and worth reading even though they were not major star players they were interesting players.
     
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  25. RAFA2005RG

    RAFA2005RG Banned

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    I'll read the Rios book, its bound to have some extreme moments. And the Spadea book too I'll read as he's weird. Agassi book was awesome.
     
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  26. DolgoSantoro

    DolgoSantoro Professional

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    Well yes, I never said that Nadal never turned it around again. I was just remarking about how Djokovic started giving Nadal quite a bit of trouble soon after he wrote that and how ironic it was.

    And in any case those matches were on clay. The true test for Nadal will come when he plays Novak on his preferred surface again.
     
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  27. RAFA2005RG

    RAFA2005RG Banned

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    Not true. The most lopsided wins Djokovic had over Nadal were on clay. Both in straight sets (and no tie-breakers needed). In 2011 he never beat Nadal in straight sets on hardcourt/grass. And look at the Australian Open final, 6 hours, 7-5 in the fifth set. Nadal is EXTREMELY close to winning the Australian Open.
     
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  28. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    Yeah thats what i hear! it was called Open or something right?
     
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  29. RAFA2005RG

    RAFA2005RG Banned

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    Yes, "Open" autobiography.

    And I also read another Agassi book called "The Agassi and the Ecstasy" which was a biography based on information gained from interviews with almost everyone who ever knew Agassi. In fact, the author interviewed Agassi before Agassi turned pro. It was extremely insightful, yet nowhere near as insightful as "Open" as Agassi revealed a lot that was never told to anyone.
     
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