Does Agassi truly hate tennis?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by raiden031, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Just started reading his autobiography yesterday. From the very first page, he states that he hated tennis. I don't believe this when I look back at his career.

    Without having read enough of the book to really understand Agassi, does anyone who has read the book believe that he truly hated tennis, or is 'hate' the wrong word?
     
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  2. esm

    esm Semi-Pro

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    i suggest you to read more first.

    imo, i believe he hates tennis during his childhood and younger days...
     
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  3. Joe Pike

    Joe Pike Banned

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    Do a sneak preview of the last sentence in his book ...
     
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  4. tyro

    tyro New User

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    I think "hate" is probably the wrong word. I think he hates that tennis was chosen for him, but when you read his descriptions of competing throughout his pro career, it's obvious that he developed a passion for the game.

    It could be that even he is not quite sure how he feels about. Maybe "conflicted."

    --Tyro

    http://tenniswire.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/parisian-appetites/
     
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  5. Datacipher

    Datacipher Banned

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    Complicated, as others have pointed out. He is using that as a soundbite Raiden. It is not to be taken as encompassing the true range of his feelings toward the many aspects of "tennis". Even if it were, "hate" and "tennis" are so ill-defined amongst individuals so as to make the sentence uninterpretable. As Tyro points out, if one had to say it in a single sentence, it might be better to say he is conflicted and that Agassi hates many aspects of tennis and his relationship to it.

    Don't obsesss over such a sentence. You need to read more to understand better what this sentence means to him.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2010
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  6. JerrYMeeE

    JerrYMeeE Rookie

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    from a VERY simple viewpoint, i think he just hates playing singles, but likes to win :) and also likes the feeling of hitting a ball dead in the center of the racquet.

    i'm being pretty sarcastic, but my idea has GOT to be somewhat plausible. think about it.
     
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  7. JoshDragon

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  8. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    I don't buy it 100% either. It is more of a love/hate thing. It's something that most of us experience at some point with the important things in our lives like family and work. I think it was the one weak part of the book. He just talked about it too much. I think he did it to get across the range of emotions a pro tennis player has towards the thing that dominates his/her life.
     
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  9. Texastennis

    Texastennis Rookie

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    I think he certainly hated it as a child, teenager and into his 20s. I don't think he even enjoyed winning that much as he says often. He hated to lose. I'm surprised people have had such difficulty accepting he hated it. Especially in the uk, lots of big sportspeople have come out since and said they hate their sports too. He says clearly from 1997 (when you get that far), that he started to feel better about it and everything tennis gave him - but I'm not sure he ever loved laying singles. Still conflicted. Learned to love the fans, appreciate the benefits tennis had given him, enjoy taking control of his life, but the game remained often very frustrating. I think he's described it in interviews as a hate-love thing.
     
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  10. Texastennis

    Texastennis Rookie

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    PS I heard Cahill (Agassi's coach for the last four years of his career of course) make an interesting point while they were discussing the book on ESPN. He said on the one hand he was surprised when he read the manuscript by the hating tennis, but that on the other he noticed right from the start of working with him that Agassi had what Cahill called a "strange" relationship with tennis - didn't enjoy winning enough and far too bothered by losing. So even at the end of his career, his relationship to tennis was at best conflicted. Cahill's had both an extended very close up look at Agassi and of course wide experience of tennis players.
     
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  11. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    McEnroe hated tennis to an extent as well growing up. I believe he stated in his book that he couldn't stand being the center of so much attention and would rather be a part of a team instead.
     
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  12. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    Regardless of he does hate tennis or not, it makes sense from a writing standpoint to have a certain point/phrase etc repeated throughout the novel. In most compelling stories there are some constants throughout, so the reader can clearly see the main character's 'journey.'

    I'm sure Andre & his ghostwriter realized this in the planning stage & decided to run with it. Otherwise, his book would just be him reciting events that happened in his life, like so many of these types of books.

    There is a reason so many non tennis/non sports fans are enjoying this book.
     
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  13. tyro

    tyro New User

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    Interesting comment. I remember reading an interview with Mac in which said, matter-of-factly, "I never loved the game."

    And yet as a 50-year-old, he continues to travel the globe for exos against players 20-years his junior.

    Being so good at something that you feel like you have virtually no choice but to pursue must evoke complex reactions.

    Tyro

    http://tenniswire.wordpress.com
     
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  14. SirSweetSpot

    SirSweetSpot Banned

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    ^^ Well said Tyro.

    Couple those complex emotions with the fact that tennis is HARD, especially against top pros.

    I remember a quote my coach once said, "We're imperfect creatures playing the perfect game...it's grounds for disaster."
     
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  15. VGP

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    Well, he definitely doesn't "love" it in the sense that both he and his wife vowed never to allow their children pursue tennis as a career. Part of this is expressed in how they purposely do not have a tennis court in their back yard.

    ......otoh, the Sampras' do.
     
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  16. He talks about hating tennis with a passion during his LAST match though...it seems the whole thing is very inconsistent, and used as a way to market the book. Not really sure what his true feelings are. I've seen him say that he grew to appreciate tennis, but again he talks about hating tennis while waiting for his last match and how he "always will" so...
     
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  17. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Some of the best players I knew growing up hated tennis. Think about it, to be good at age 13, you have to start around 7 or 8. It's usually not your choice but the parents. Some kids loved it, others hated it. I hated playing piano, an instrument my mom chose for me. Sometimes, even the stuff you would normally like, you learn to hate it if a person is forcing you to do it.

    But with Agassi, it seems like it wasn't just the tennis, but everything that went with it, the pressure, his dad's crazy ambition, the yelling, etc...
     
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  18. Ultra2HolyGrail

    Ultra2HolyGrail Hall of Fame

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    There's no way agassi hated tennis when he dedicated himself to it in the late 90's. If he really hated it he would of just quit.
     
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  19. Texastennis

    Texastennis Rookie

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    You guys who can't believe he hated tennis are like all the people he said that too his whole life - and who replied "no you don't." He does say that after 97 he learned to appreciate everything tennis gave him - but not necessarily tennis.
    He says he's still very conflicted about tennis. Why can't that be true? It's bizarre to me that people can't accept that - he decided to work at it to make th emost f his talent, but he doesn't have to love it. I have plenty of friends who hate their jobs and do a very good job nevertheless.
     
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  20. Moose Malloy

    Moose Malloy Legend

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    True. He's constantly talking about quitting throughout the book, but when he drops to 100(or whatever), a time when most consider him to be basically retired & it would have been easier to retire than continue, he chooses the hard path.
    Its hard to believe someone who has made so much money would relish going back to the challengers if they didn't love the game.

    And however much Agassi did or didn't hate tennis, he sure loved the winning part of it.
     
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  21. Texastennis

    Texastennis Rookie

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    He clearly says in the book he DIDN'T love winning - no matter how big the win, it was a fleeting pleasure. (Ironically or predictably, I recall an interview with Graf from long ago when she said the same thing - she didn't enjoy winning much because there was always immediately the next tournament etc etc). Cahill only coached Agassi from 2002 (ie after Agassi improved his attitude) and he said it struck him right away that Agassi's relationship with the game was "strange" - didn't enjoy winning enough etc
     
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  22. Did you read his book? He claims that after getting to number 1 his reaction was "This is it?" I believe he also talks about how winning doesn't feel as good as losing does bad. McEnroe has made similar comments. Losing feels AWFUL, so do your best to avoid it. It's not about winning necessarily, it's about not losing.

    He says throughout his entire book that he hates tennis. It get's no reprieve in the book. The reaction that everyone gives him, i.e. "No you don't", is the same thing people are doing in this thread, which is kinda funny.

    I really don't see any way around the conclusion that yes he really does hate tennis.
     
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  23. cork_screw

    cork_screw Hall of Fame

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    Maybe you should be asking, "Does Andre miss his childhood?"
     
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  24. Ultra2HolyGrail

    Ultra2HolyGrail Hall of Fame

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    There must be because there is no way andre could play all those years, dedicate himself to tennis, if he truely hated to play the game. It's 'Impossible', especially at a pro level. You can not fake it. It's like dale earnhardt saying he hates driving but wins the indy 500 after many gruelling laps. Or a runner saying he hates running but trains and wins a marathon. If you truely hate something you just don't do it, it's that simple. Do you think andre 'enjoyed' running hills to train for a sport he hates? :roll: There is simply no reason why you would train for a sport you hate. And the decision is purely up to you. It's that simple.
     
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  25. Ultra2HolyGrail

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    The difference is andre chose to continue to play tennis, dedicate himself to the game, train and be in the best shape possible, ALL from his own choice with nobody making him to do it.

    Do you ever see your friends getting pumped up, yelling come on, fist pumping, having looks of intensity, from doing work they hate?
     
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  26. Max G.

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    That was the whole point. His father made him do it.
     
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  27. Ultra2HolyGrail

    Ultra2HolyGrail Hall of Fame

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    I realize that. But his father did not make him dedicate himself to tennis in the late 90's, play challenger tournaments, run hills, etc. If agassi truely hated tennis he would of quite long ago. And he certaintly would not have shown as much emotion as he did playing the game.
     
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  28. Couple questions...

    First off, have you read the book? If not, please do so.

    Secondly...how old are you? It's easy to say what you're saying if you haven't lived it. To quote Hank Hill "Part of being a man is doing things you don't want to do." Of course that's meant in humor but there is truth in it.

    What else was Agassi going to do? He had no other skills...

    And yes, I have worked very hard at things I really couldn't stand, but you do it because you "have to."
     
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  29. Ultra2HolyGrail

    Ultra2HolyGrail Hall of Fame

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    There's really no need. I've heard him talk about the book and all i need to hear is that he did not 'choose' tennis. I know his father pushed him to play.



    I know full well what it means to not do something you do not choose. Or basically what it feels like exactly to play a sport that you really don't love as a kid who prefers other sports or maybe just none at all. But maybe not years and years of playing a sport i did not choose. All i know is there is just no way andre could hate tennis that much and do everything i've already said for so long. If he did truely hate tennis though, every single year he ever played, than he is the greatest actor i've ever seen..

    If this thread was about Safin i would not disagree.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
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  30. Texastennis

    Texastennis Rookie

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    I love these "no need to read the book" and yet can make many comments on it...
    He clearly says HE chose it after 1997 - not because he loved it, the opposite, but because he grew up enough to be mature about realizing he had a talent that he could use to achieve many other things he did want, especially in terms of his foundation - plus over time after that, it gave him Graf etc, so even thought he never liked it, he could realize all the good things associated with it. It's not rocket science to follow how he made sense of that rather than keep saying "he must have loved it."
     
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  31. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    A lot of people spend 40 hours a week for decades doing something they're not crazy about. It's called a job. What else is a high school drop out like Agassi going to do? Go work at a gas station or make hundreds of thousands a year doing what he does best, the only thing he's ever known.

    And again, it doesn't seem like he hated hitting balls, what he meant by tennis is everything that came with it, the grind, the pressure, supporting his family, his dad living through him, etc.

    From articles I've read, he did learn to appreciate it when he chose tennis as an adult on his own terms.
     
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  32. d3tennis

    d3tennis New User

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    Have you ever had a job that you hated, but you went to it every day?
    Chose a career that didn't fulfill you, but the perks of it were too good to leave?

    Andre's JOB was tennis. He didn't choose it. He couldn't leave it. The things that it has allowed him to do were his fulfillment, not the actual playing.
     
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