An “Open” Snippet

Back in December, I said I was planning to read Andre Agassi’s memoir, Open, and asked if anyone wanted to read it with me. Well, I finally picked up the book–and I’d love to have someone to talk/post with about the book when I’m done.

Here are the memoir’s opening paragraphs, just to pique your interest:

I open my eyes and don’t know where I am or who I am. Not all that unusual–I’ve spent half my life not knowing. Still, this feels different. This confusion is more frightening. More total.

I look up. I’m 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 pumping.

I’m 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 doesn’t feel like my mind. Upon opening my eyes I’m a stranger to myself, and while, again, this isn’t new, in the mornings it’s more pronounced. I run quickly through the basic facts. My name is Andre Agassi. My wife’s 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 I’m playing in the 2006 U.S. Open. My last U.S. 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 have.

As this last piece of identity falls into place, I slide to my knees and in a whisper I say: Please let this be over.

Then: I’m not ready for it to be over.

Now, from the next room, I hear Stefanie and the children. They’re 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 to my feet.

Damn. That’s some good writing.

I’ll plan to post about Open on Wednesday, February 20. Download it on your Kindle, and get reading!

4 thoughts on “An “Open” Snippet

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  1. Deb. I read Open about 7 years ago. Love love loved it! My non-tennis playing mother and sister read it too, and they loved it as well. I would join you in reading it again but I have about 10 books on my nightstand that come first.
    PS- Pete Sampras’s autobiography is a snoozefest.

    1. Sounds like you have 11 books to finish in 15 days. Better get busy!

      Fine, you don’t have to re-read it. But you can still comment on it when I post. 😊🎾

  2. Fascinating and so well written. Thank you for the inspiring snippet. I just might add it to my stack…

  3. My son, who was a national level gymnast, had to push his body beyond natural limits. He has read the book twice and given three copies away to friends he felt could benefit from reading it. He said it is honest, inspiring and poetic. A ringing endorsement! Don’t know why I haven’t read it.

Let me know what you think!

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