Nov. 24, 2019

Open by Andre Agassi: what to do when you really hate your job

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About the Author

Andre Kirk Agassi is an American retired professional tennis player and former world No. 1 whose career spanned from the late 1980s to the early 2000s. [4]  In singles, Agassi is an eight-time Grand Slam champion and a 1996 Olympic gold medalist, as well as being a runner-up in seven other Grand Slam tournaments.

During the Open Era, Agassi was the first male player to win four Australian Open titles, a record that was later surpassed by Novak Djokovic when he won his fifth title in 2015, and then by Roger Federer in 2017. Agassi is one of five male singles players to achieve the Career Grand Slam in the Open Era.

Agassi retired from professional tennis on September 3, 2006. He is the founder of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, [16]  which has raised over $60 million for at-risk children in Southern Nevada. [17]  In 2001, the Foundation opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, a K-12 public charter school for at-risk children. [18]  He has been married to fellow tennis player Steffi Graf since 2001.


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About the book

He is one of the most beloved athletes in history and one of the most gifted men ever to step onto a tennis court – but from early childhood Andre Agassi hated the game.

Coaxed to swing a racket while still in the crib, forced to hit hundreds of balls a day while still in grade school, Agassi resented the constant pressure even as he drove himself, an inner conflict that would define him. In his beautiful, haunting autobiography, Agassi tells the story of a life framed by conflict.

Yet, despite raw talent, he struggles. We feel his confusion as he loses to the world’s best, his greater confusion as he starts to win. After stumbling in three Grand Slam finals, Agassi shocks the world, and himself, by capturing the 1992 Wimbledon title. Overnight he becomes a fan favourite and a media target.

Agassi brings a near-photographic memory to every pivotal match, and every public relationship. He reveals the depression that shatters his confidence, and the mistake that nearly costs him everything. Finally, he recounts his spectacular resurrection and his march to become the oldest man ever ranked number one.



Find out more about Andre’s foundation:

Watch the 10 greatest Agassi ATP shots:


BIG IDEA 1 (7:32) – Doing things other people want you to do, won’t make you happy.

Andre Agassi was pushed into tennis by his father as his last hope of having a pro sporting offspring.

At a young age, Andre was playing tennis against much older children. At thirteen, he was sent to Bollettieri Academy in Florida where he was pushed even more into tennis competitions and doing things he didn’t want to do. He rebelled as a teenager and into his career – most famously against the Wimbledon dress code traditions. He also did not follow some court rules which put him in trouble several times.

Andre spent his life being pushed into things and not knowing how to manage it. As a result he had some famous acts of rebellion such as the clothes he wore, ear piercings and his hair colour (before he lost his hair). He didn’t have control over anything because everything he did in his life was designed by others to make him a tennis player. 

This lack of control or choices played out later in his life and throughout his career even in some of the relationships he had. He was deeply unhappy in his career and couldn’t wait for it to be over. 

Doing things people want you to do all the time won’t make you happy. There’s clearly a need  for give and take – where can you relinquish control and where can you gain control so you get a balance between doing things for yourself and for other people. 

BIG IDEA 2 (10:40) – Find your lifeguard.

Andre found a much-needed father figure in Gil who became more than just his trainer. Andre considered Gil his life guard because Gil nurtured, protected and made him feel he could do things that Andre actually didn’t believe he could. Gil made sure Andre was conditioned and in good mental and physical state to compete at the highest level.

He also found another person who understood him and whom he eventually had a relationship with (and married) in Steffi Graf. Steffi understood his life as she had much the same upbringing being pushed into tennis as well from a young age and competing at the highest levels of tennis. 

BIG IDEA 3 (12:26) – Give back what you wish you’d had.

Agassi opened a foundation for kids that is designed to create an environment for nurturing education – an experience that Andre didn’t have (and ironically, Andre hated school). Their mantra is all about respect. He was able to give back what he didn’t have and give them the opportunity to enjoy as kids to improve their future prospects. 

Even the physical environment of the school is designed to promote aspiration to learn and go to college to further their education. He is incredibly proud of this and it is a huge part of what he stands for as he realises that he is in a unique position to be able to give kids opportunities that he didn’t have when he was young. 

Music By:  Blue – Instrumental Version Song by Faith Richards

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