This month's book review is on tennis legend Andre Agassi's 2009 biography, "Open." Agassi reveals a peak into how he rose to greatness in the competitive world of tennis, and his struggle to maintain a normal life amongst the fame and endless tournaments. One of the insights I got from the book was centered on Agassi's father who groomed Agassi to be a professional tennis player. As soon as Agassi was out of diapers, he could perform a full tennis serve on a professional sized tennis court.
Hitting 1,000,000 Tennis Balls a Year!
The other things his father did was rig a machine nicknamed "The Dragon," that would shoot high velocity tennis balls at him so he could practice hitting tennis balls. The goal was to hit 2,500 tennis balls a day because, if you do the math, that comes to nearly 1,000,000 tennis balls a year being hit. The logic being any kid that hits 1,000,000 tennis balls a year will be unbeatable. As the old saying goes, 'practice makes perfect." As with me in my law practice, everytime I successfully conclude an injury case, I am a little better for the next one, and the next one, and so on...etc.
Agassi's father also taught him the "double back hand" swing which gives the player more control. It is much more reliable and you can control more of the top-spin when you hit the tennis ball. It is also more powerful. Agassi's father also taught him to hit the ball when it comes up from the bounce as opposed to waiting for it to arc down from the bounce. This allowed Agassi to charge forward and press the net, and become explosive on the court making it more difficult for his opponents to return the hit. These strategies served Agassi well and he soon became a very good tennis player, and he turned professional at age 16.
Another unique feature was that Agassi lived in Las Vegas, and touranments would pass through the town. Agassi's father would network and get tennis legends to play Agassi when he was as young as 7. Thus, by the time he turned professional, he had already played against players like Jimmy Connors and Bion Bjorg. Eventually, Agassi went to train with Nick Bollettieri in Florida who became his coach for many years until he switched to Brad Gilbert.
Andre Agassi's Legacy:
As we all know, Agassi went on to win all 4 Grand Slams which incuded Wimbeldon in 1992, and then The Australian Open, The French Open, and the U.S. Open. He has a won a total of 8 Tennis Grand Slams in his long career. Agassi shares personal insights into his first marriage with Brooke Shields, and his second marriage with fellow tennis great, Steffi Graf.
All in all, the book is a page turner as you journey with Agassi through the peaks and valleys of his life as he is becoming a tennis legend himself. The ironic thing you will learn is Agassi has always hated tennis. He felt as if he never had a choice but to play this game since he was raised by his father to be great at it. Yet, tennis has given so much to Agassi, and in turn, he has given back to the community of Las Vegas by opening a school for needy children. Agassi never got past the 9th grade in his own life, and this is one small measure of him making sure others, who have challenges, get the education they need. If you enjoy biographies that are inspirational, and are about over coming odds, you will enjoy this book.
In addition to doing monthly book reviews, I am also a San Diego personal injury lawyer. If you have been injured, or someone you know has been injured, because of another person making an unsafe choice, be sure to grab my FREE California Injury Legal Survival Guides available on this website. I take questions on injury cases everyday, and I can be reached at 619.813.7955. With that, I hope you enjoy this month's book review, and as always, stay strong! Mark