pdf Open : An autobiography Author Andre Agassi – Sisnlaw.co.uk

Open : An autobiography THE ENDI open my eyes and dont know where I am or who I am Not all that unusualIve spent half my life not knowing Still, this feels different This confusion isfrightening More totalI look up Im lying on the floor beside the bed I remember now I moved from the bed to the floor in the middle of the night I do that most nights Better for my back Too many hours on a soft mattress causes agony I count to three, then start the long, difficult process of standing With a cough, a groan, I roll onto my side, then curl into the fetal position, then flip over onto my stomach Now I wait, and wait, for the blood to start pumpingIm a young man, relatively speaking Thirty six But I wake as if ninety six After three decades of sprinting, stopping on a dime, jumping high and landing hard, my body no longer feels like my body, especially in the morning Consequently my mind doesnt feel like my mind Upon opening my eyes Im a stranger to myself, and while, again, this isnt new, in the mornings itspronounced I run quickly through the basic facts My name is Andre Agassi My wifes name is Stefanie Graf We have two children, a son and daughter, five and three We live in Las Vegas, Nevada, but currently reside in a suite at the Four Seasons hotel in New York City, because Im playing in theUS Open My last US Open In fact my last tournament ever I play tennis for a living, even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion, and always haveAs this last piece of identity falls into place, I slide to my knees and in a whisper I say Please let this be overThen Im not ready for it to be overNow, from the next room, I hear Stefanie and the children Theyre eating breakfast, talking, laughing My overwhelming desire to see and touch them, plus a powerful craving for caffeine, gives me the inspiration I need to hoist myself up, to go vertical Hate brings me to my knees, love gets me on my feetI glance at the bedside clock Seven thirty Stefanie let me sleep in The fatigue of these final days has been severe Apart from the physical strain, there is the exhausting torrent of emotions set loose by my pending retirement Now, rising from the center of the fatigue comes the first wave of pain I grab my back It grabs me I feel as if someone snuck in during the night and attached one of those anti theft steering wheel locks to my spine How can I play in the US Open with the Club on my spine Will the last match of my career be a forfeit I was born with spondylolisthesis, meaning a bottom vertebra that parted from the other vertebrae, struck out on its own, rebelled Its the main reason for my pigeon toed walk With this one vertebra out of sync, theres less room for the nerves inside the column of my spine, and with the slightest movement the nerves feel that muchcrowded Throw in two herniated discs and a bone that wont stop growing in a futile effort to protect the damaged area, and those nerves start to feel downright claustrophobic When the nerves protest their cramped quarters, when they send out distress signals, a pain runs up and down my leg that makes me suck in my breath and speak in tongues At such moments the only relief is to lie down and wait Sometimes, however, the moment arrives in the middle of a match Then the only remedy is to alter my gameswing differently, run differently, do everything differently Thats when my muscles spasm Everyone avoids change muscles cant abide it Told to change, my muscles join the spinal rebellion, and soon my whole body is at war with itselfGil, my trainer, my friend, my surrogate father, explains it this way Your body is saying it doesnt want to do this anyMy body has been saying that for a long time, I tell Gil Almost as long as Ive been saying itSince January, however, my body has been shouting it My body doesnt want to retiremy body has already retired My body has moved to Florida and bought a condo and white Sansabelts So Ive been negotiating with my body, asking it to come out of retirement for a few hours here, a few hours there Much of this negotiation revolves around a cortisone shot that temporarily dulls the pain Before the shot works, however, it causes its own tormentsI got one yesterday, so I could play tonight It was the third shot this year, the thirteenth of my career, and by far the most alarming The doctor, not my regular doctor, told me brusquely to assume the position I stretched out on his table, face down, and his nurse yanked down my shorts The doctor said he needed to get his seven inch needle as close to the inflamed nerves as possible But he couldnt enter directly, because my herniated discs and bone spur were blocking the path His attempts to circumvent them, to break the Club, sent me through the roof First he inserted the needle Then he positioned a big machine over my back to see how close the needle was to the nerves He needed to get that needle almost flush against the nerves, he said, without actually touching If it were to touch the nerves, even if it were to only nick the nerves, the pain would ruin me for the tournament It could also be life changing In and out and around, he maneuvered the needle, until my eyes filled with waterFinally he hit the spot Bulls eye, he saidIn went the cortisone The burning sensation made me bite my lip Then came the pressure I felt infused, embalmed The tiny space in my spine where the nerves are housed began to feel vacuum packed The pressure built until I thought my back would burstPressure is how you know everythings working, the doctor saidWords to live by, DocSoon the pain felt wonderful, almost sweet, because it was the kind that you can tell precedes relief But maybe all pain is like that FAMILY IS GROWING LOUDER I limp out to the living room of our suite My son, Jaden, and my daughter, Jaz, see me and scream Daddy, Daddy They jump up and down and want to leap on me I stop and brace myself, stand before them like a mime imitating a tree in winter They stop just before leaping, because they know Daddy is delicate these days, Daddy will shatter if they touch him too hard I pat their faces and kiss their cheeks and join them at the breakfast table Jaden asks if today is the dayYesYoure playing YesAnd then after today are you retire A new word he and his younger sister have learned Retired When they say it, they always leave off the last letter For them its retire, forever ongoing, permanently in the present tense Maybe they know something I dontNot if I win, son If I win tonight, I keep playingBut if you lose we can have a dog To the children, retire equals puppy Stefanie and I have promised them that when I stop training, when we stop traveling the world, we can buy a puppy Maybe well name him CortisoneYes, buddy, when I lose, we will buy a dogHe smiles He hopes Daddy loses, hopes Daddy experiences the disappointment that surpasses all others He doesnt understand and how will I ever be able to explain it to him the pain of losing, the pain of playing Its taken me nearly thirty years to understand it myself, to solve the calculus of my own psycheI ask Jaden what hes doing todayGoing to see the bonesI look at Stefanie She reminds me shes taking them to the Museum of Natural History Dinosaurs I think of my twisted vertebrae I think of my skeleton on display at the museum with all the other dinosaurs Tennis aurus RexJaz interrupts my thoughts She hands me her muffin She needs me to pick out the blueberries before she eats it Our morning ritual Each blueberry must be surgically removed, which requires precision, concentration Stick the knife in, move it around, get it right up to the blueberry without touching I focus on her muffin and its a relief to think about something other than tennis But as I hand her the muffin, I cant pretend that it doesnt feel like a tennis ball, which makes the muscles in my back twitch with anticipation The time is drawing nearTER BREAKFAST, after Stefanie and the kids have kissed me goodbye and run off to the museum, I sit quietly at the table, looking around the suite Its like every hotel suite Ive ever had, onlyso Clean, chic, comfortable its the Four Seasons, so its lovely, but its still just another version of what I call Not Home The non place we exist as athletes I close my eyes, try to think about tonight, but my mind drifts backward My mind these days has a natural backspin Given half a chance it wantsto return to the beginning, because Im so close to the end But I cant let it Not yet I cant afford to dwell too long on the past I get up and walk around the table, test my balance When I feel fairly steady I walk gingerly to the showerUnder the hot water I groan and scream I bend slowly, touch my quads, start to come alive My muscles loosen My skin sings My pores fly open Warm blood goes sluicing through my veins I feel something begin to stir Life Hope The last drops of youth Still, I make no sudden movements I dont want to do anything to startle my spine I let my spine sleep inStanding at the bathroom mirror, toweling off, I stare at my face Red eyes, gray stubble a face totally different from the one with which I started But also different from the one I saw last year in this same mirror Whoever I might be, Im not the boy who started this odyssey, and Im not even the man who announced three months ago that the odyssey was coming to an end Im like a tennis racket on which Ive replaced the grip four times and the strings seven times is it accurate to call it the same racket Somewhere in those eyes, however, I can still vaguely see the boy who didnt want to play tennis in the first place, the boy who wanted to quit, the boy who did quit many times I see that golden haired boy who hated tennis, and I wonder how he would view this bald man, who still hates tennis and yet still plays Would he be shocked Amused Proud The question makes me weary, lethargic, and its only noonPlease let this be overIm not ready for it to be overThe finish line at the end of a career is no different from the finish line at the end of a match The objective is to get within reach of that finish line, because then it gives off a magnetic force When youre close, you can feel that force pulling you, and you can use that force to get across But just before you come within range, or just after, you feel another force, equally strong, pushing you away Its inexplicable, mystical, these twin forces, these contradictory energies, but they both exist I know, because Ive spent much of my life seeking the one, fighting the other, and sometimes Ive been stuck, suspended, bounced like a tennis ballbetween the twoTonight I remind myself that it will require iron discipline to cope with these forces, and whatever else comes my way Back pain, bad shots, foul weather, self loathing Its a form of worry, this reminder, but also a meditation One thing Ive learned in twenty nine years of playing tennis Life will throw everything but the kitchen sink in your path, and then it will throw the kitchen sink Its your job to avoid the obstacles If you let them stop you or distract you, youre not doing your job, and failing to do your job will cause regrets that paralyze youthan a bad backI lie on the bed with a glass of water and read When my eyes get tired I click on the TV Tonight, Round Two of the US Open Will this be Andre Agassis farewell My face flashes on the screen A different face than the one in the mirror My game face I study this new reflection of me in the distorted mirror that is TV and my anxiety rises another click or twoWas that the final commercial The final time CBS will ever promote one of my matches I cant escape the feeling that Im about to dieIts no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature Even the structure of tennis, the way the pieces fit inside one another like Russian nesting dolls, mimics the structure of our days Points become games become sets become tournaments, and its all so tightly connected that any point can become the turning point It reminds me of the way seconds become minutes become hours, and any hour can be our finest Or darkest Its our choiceBut if tennis is life, then what follows tennis must be the unknowable void The thought makes me coldStefanie bursts through the door with the kids They flop on the bed, and my son asks how Im feelingFine, fine How were the bones Fun Stefanie gives them sandwiches and juice and hustles them out the door againThey have a playdate, she saysDont we allNow I can take a nap At thirty six, the only way I can play a late match, which could go past midnight, is if I get a nap beforehand Also, now that I know roughly who I am, I want to close my eyes and hide from it When I open my eyes, one hour has passed I say aloud, Its time Nohiding I step into the shower again, but this shower is different from the morning shower The afternoon shower is always longertwenty two minutes, give or take and its not for waking up or gettingclean The afternoon shower is for encouraging myself, coaching myselfTennis is the sport in which you talk to yourself No athletes talk to themselves like tennis players Pitchers, golfers, goalkeepers, they mutter to themselves, of course, but tennis players talk to themselvesand answer In the heat of a match, tennis players look like lunatics in a public square, ranting and swearing and conducting Lincoln Douglas debates with their alter egos Why Because tennis is so damned lonely Only boxers can understand the loneliness of tennis playersand yet boxers have their corner men and managers Even a boxers opponent provides a kind of companionship, someone he can grapple with and grunt at In tennis you stand face to face with the enemy, trade blows with him, but never touch him or talk to him, or anyone else The rules forbid a tennis player from even talking to his coach while on the court People sometimes mention the track and field runner as a comparably lonely figure, but I have to laugh At least the runner can feel and smell his opponents Theyre inches away In tennis youre on an island Of all the games men and women play, tennis is the closest to solitary confinement, which inevitably leads to self talk, and for me the self talk starts here in the afternoon shower This is when I begin to say things to myself, crazy things, over and over, until I believe them For instance, that a quasi cripple can compete at the US Open That a thirty six year old man can beat an opponent just entering his prime Ive wonmatches in my career, fifth on the all time list, and many were won during the afternoon showerWith the water roaring in my ears a sound not unlike twenty thousand fansI recall particular wins Not wins the fans would remember, but wins that still wake me at night Squillari in Paris Blake in New York Pete in Australia Then I recall a few losses I shake my head at the disappointments I tell myself that tonight will be an exam for which Ive been studying twenty nine years Whatever happens tonight, Ive already been through it at least once before If its a physical test, if its mental, its nothing newPlease let this be overI dont want it to be overI start to cry I lean against the wall of the shower and let go Ce texte fait r f rence l dition ReliInsightful and exceedingly well writtenOpen has the cadence and plotting of a good novelThe raw energy and emotion throughout are pure Agassi Newsday TopBooks of Surprisingly candidThe baseline bad boy serves up his harrowing anecdotes with the same force he put behind every on court aceEntertainment WeeklyBest Nonfiction Books of Bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily, Agassis is one of the most passionately anti sports books ever written by a superstar athleteThe New York TimesNotable Books of Andre Agassis memoir is just as entrancing as his tennis gameBy sharing an unvarnished, at times inspiring story in an arresting, muscular style, Agassi may have just penned one of the best sports autobiographies of all time Checkits one of the better memoirs out there, period Sean Gregory,Time Not just a first rate sports memoir but a genuine bildungsroman, darkly funny yet also anguished and soulful It confirms what Agassis admirers sensed from the outset, that this showboatwas not clamoring for attention but rather conducting a struggle to wrest some semblance of selfhood from the sport that threatened to devour him Sam Tanenhaus, The New York Times Book Review A remarkable and quite unexpected volume, one that sails well past its homiletic genre into the realm of literature, a memoir whose success clearly owes not a little to a readers surprise in discovering that a celebrity one may have presumed to know on the basis of that haircut and a few television commercials hawking cameras via the slogan image is everything emerges as a man of partsself aware, black hud, eloquent Michael Kimmelman,The New York Review of BooksA heartfelt memoirAgassis style is open, all right, and his book, like so many of his tennis games, is a clear winnerO, The Oprah MagazineOpen describes Agassis personal odyssey with brio and unvarnished candorHis career comeback tale is inspiring but evenso is another Open storyline It could be called The punk grows upCountless athletes start charitable foundations, but frequently the organizations are just tax shelters or PR stunts For Mr Agassi helping others has instead become his lifes calling Open is a superb memoir, but it hardly closes the books on an extraordinary life Jay Winik,The Wall Street Journal Its both astonishing and a pleasure to report that Andre Agassihas produced an honest, substantive, insightful autobiographyThe bulk of this extraordinary book vividly recounts a lost childhood, a Dickensian adolescence, and a chaotic struggle in adulthood to establish an identityWhile not without excitement, Agassis comeback to Nois less uplifting than his sheer survival, his emotional resilience, and his good humor in the face of the luckless cards he was often dealt Michael Mewshaw,Washington Post Honest in a way that such books seldom areAn uncommonly well written sports memoir Charles McGrath,The New York Times Probably the most candid sports autobiography ever writtenA remarkably real, tell it like it is, record breaking read Nancy Isenberg, The Baton Rouge Advocate Agassi weaves a fascinating tale of professional tennis and personal adversityHis tale shows that success is measured both on and off the court Doree Shafrir, New York Post Refreshingly candidThis lively, revealing, and entertaining book is certain to roil the tennis world and make a big splash beyondPublishers Weekly Enigmatic tennis great Agassi lays it all on the lineAgassis photographic recall of pivotal matches evokes the raw intensity of watching them from the stands Lovers of the sport will also appreciate this window into the mind of a championAn ace of a tale about how one man found his game Kirkus Ce texte fait r f rence l dition Reli


About the Author: Andre Agassi

En tant qu’auteur connu, certains de ses livres fascinent les lecteurs, comme dans le livre Open : An autobiography , qui est l’un des lecteurs les plus recherchés Andre Agassi auteurs dans le monde.



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