AgassiI got the new Agassi book and have now read the first chapter.

The first chapter tells of his match at age 10 with Jeff Tarango (who also later became a touring pro, controversial for his bad temper). With the score tied 4-4 in the third set tiebreaker, Agassi hits a backhand winner that's three feet inside the lines. Tarango "bows his head and seems to cry…" [Tennis Week story]. "Now he stops. All of a sudden, he looks back at where the ball hit. He smiles. 'Out,' he says," writes Agassi. "I stop. 'The ball was out!' Tarango yells. This is the rule in the juniors. Players act as their own linesman… Tarango has decided he'd rather do this than lose and he knows there's nothing anyone can do about it. He raises his hand in victory. Now I start to cry."

Overall, you definitely get your money's worth if you want dirt dished. Again, writing of his childhood, page 39: "My father's mother lives with us. She's a nasty old lady from Tehran with a wart the size of a walnut on the edge of her nose…" I also once read the Tatum O'Neal autobiography, which is tangentially connected to tennis because of her marriage to John McEnroe. Agassi is scoring high on the scandal-meter, but he won't be able to touch that one.





Speak your mind

16 Comments so far

  1. Steve Leslie on November 12, 2009 2:19 am

    A proliferation of autobiographies is hitting the bookstores recently. I wonder if it is a sign of the economy or the time of the year what with the Christmas shopping season starting in a few weeks.

    Hulk Hogan: My Life Outside the Ring;
    McKenzie Phillips: High on Arrival;
    Valerie Bertinelli: Finding It;
    Victoria Gotti: This Family of Mine.

    It seems that the publishers are using a tried and true maxim that a guaranteed way to promote and sell books is to lace the book with scandal, s_xual abuse, drug abuse and whatever else one needs to include to insure the success of the book. What I find interesting about the Agassi story is that if he feels so empathetic as to the relevance to share the fact that he abused methamphetamines in the late 90s why did he wait 12 years to do so.

    I have not heard much about George W Bush planning on releasing his memoirs but I am sure when he does so it will be a record price paid for them. I recall that Bill Clinton commanded an amazingly high fee for his. There always seems to be a ready market for this genre. It looks like Larry King the "King of Promotions" will be ready to interview each and every one of them. As will Oprah, Matt Lauer. Jay Leno and every other host of every daytime talk show when the authors decide to go on the circuit.

  2. manuel bravochico on November 12, 2009 2:33 am

    Andre will spout off just about anything to get his book sales higher. Transparent.

  3. James Balgro on December 10, 2009 9:13 pm

    Andre seems to be leaving out pertinent information, since due to its being the finals there was an USTA chair umpire watching over play. The chair overruled Andre. He started to cry because he was losing — period. If Andre wants to talk about his life and how horrible he seems to think it was, fine. But that's where it should stop, not telling half stories about other players — especially matches that happened over 30 years ago. He must still have a great memory after all that drug use.

  4. Philip Zaroo on December 11, 2009 5:06 pm

    James, it’s obvious that you didn’t even read the paragraph. It begins with “The first chapter tells of his match at age 10 with Jeff Tarango.” At age 10, I’m quite sure there were no USTA chair umpires there. Furthermore, he explains that “This is the rule in the juniors. Players act as their own linesman.”

    Manuel, I’m quite certain Agassi doesn’t need to tarnish his or anyone else’s image to sell more books. I have a feeling he and his family — which also includes one of the greatest female players ever to pick up a tennis racket — is set for life.

    Agassi rips a lot of people, but none more so than himself. His dad might be a close second. The point is if you look at motivation, he has none to write the things that he did unless he was telling the truth. As far as his memory goes, some people have absolutely fantastic memories; others, not so good. Read the book before you criticize.

  5. Naseem Rakha on December 31, 2009 4:01 pm

    I think it is a fascinating book — offering insights not only into Agassi's life, but into the mental and physical preparation and skills needed to be a professional tennis player. Early on Agassi says tennis is the loneliest sport. Now he has taken on another lonely career: writing. Loads of people love to criticize both — but very few can do either one well.

  6. J Wiggin on January 14, 2010 9:47 pm

    Great story, great writing, great book. Don't miss reading this book.

  7. Cramps, Cypriots and Agassi-Book Connections at the Australian Open | Top Spin Blog on January 21, 2010 9:28 am

    […] I was struck by the connections to Agassi’s memoir Open that this match afforded.  Agassi’s first scene focuses on his win over Baghdatis in the 2006 U.S. Open, and reports that later they held hands in the training room while watching replays.  Soon after, he writes about an early junior tournament when at the age of 10 he was cheated out of the match by none other than Jeff Tarango. Later, in the pros, when Agassi would beat Tarango, he never forget the match, thinking to himself, F-U Jeff, F-U. […]

  8. jeff tarango on March 28, 2010 1:41 pm

    Funny. I was there too with 20 witnesses — and there was a certified USTA Chair on the court the entire third set — that clearly recall Super Liar Andre getting overruled at 4-3 up in that tiebreaker and then Tarango's call to win the match being substantiated by the USTA Umpire… Funny how Meth affects the brain… anyone who reads that book and thinks there is anything but omissions and lies… is not all clear… because a liar admits he is a liar does not make his book true… in fact it is probably the opposite.

  9. vic on March 28, 2010 9:51 pm

    I have held a racket in more than 12,000 refereed matches and except for Connors I would have to say — as I have said before — that Agassiz is the worst sport in the history of the game. Anyone who would believe anything he said about anyone from 30 years ago is a sucker beyond belief who should never consider speculation as he'll be deceived out of his shirt and pants. One would recommend Ned Potter's book Knights of the Court for some good sportsmanship stories about the Dohertys, and Renshaws, and Ned Pim's Babe Ruthian ability to hit a net cord at will et al rather than wasting time with the perfect lie (see the admissions of minor foibles to throw the reader off the track) of his book.

    Of course the above is just my opinion, and many have told me that in the last 10 years of his play, Mr. Agassiz has improved his sportsmanship much, and has done much good in his current location that countervails any opinions I might have… "People change," Susan N tells me, "and you shouldn't be so fixed in your opinions". While I believe what Mr. Tarango has said, and would find it indeed reprehensible to be proclaimed a cheater in a match that took place 30 years ago by a famous person, in a book, certainly Mr. A is entitled to his say on the matter, no matter how much the weight of evidence would seem to be, as is Mr. Connors for incidents such as the time he wiped out the mark of an opponent's shot, not in jest but in order to win. vic

  10. Jerry on August 9, 2010 3:05 pm

    The story was in an article from March 27, 1998. They disagreed then, they disagree now. I’m in the middle of the book so I don’t have a conclusive opinion as of yet. I’ve always admired Agassi as a player and he seemed to grow up and an make better choices as he got older. I really get a kick out of people who get so high and mighty pointing out his drug use and make such judgments about things. People aren’t perfect and people in the public eye simply make easy targets for those who have not reached such notoriety. It can’t be easy and so far it doesn’t sound like he desired the notroiety. I normally don’t write responses to these things because I find most peoples opinions about such matters to often be more of a reflection of the their own issues than anything really worthwhile. Perhaps the same can be said of my meaningless words. And for that matter it is well after the fact and will likely be read by few. In the end, I guess I’m just saying that people should just for the most part shut the hell up because they simply demonstrate the lack of sophisticated thought process and humanity.

    Oh yeah, one more thing … that picture looks more like the UFC president (Dana White) than Agassi, but that’s just my opinion …

  11. TPan on August 30, 2010 7:25 pm

    After reading this book I really recommend it. It gives great tennis insight and I can read it over and over again without getting bored.

    Now for people saying how much Andre Agassi is a liar, honestly, he was 10. He says he saw the ball land three feet in.It’s not like he can go back and realize it was out. He was 10 and that’s what he was feeling at that age. I could believe that he was wrong and the ball was out. But overall I think Andre’s words are somewhere along the right path. Also, taking into consideration Jeff’s attitude on the Pro tour, I can believe Andre.

    When I’m reading this book I feel a sense of honesty. He admits his wrong doings, and talks about them. He admits he did meth. But I think his growing up is the most important to keep in mind. He started pro tennis as a teenager and retired as a middle aged man.His growing up is fascinating. He made some bad choices but in the end I think Andre Agassi is a good person and a legendary athlete.

  12. J Balgro on November 27, 2012 11:30 pm

    Odd that someone can believe an admitted liar that has seemed to grow with age, yet is very willing to condemn another on one action and not considering this person has also grown wise with age. I personally know Jeff and he is wonderful, caring, loving, and loyal with strong values and morals. I would never believe that this person would cheat another for his own personal gain. Jeff was older and a very good player in his own right - it was the juniors - you are bound to lose at some point. Perhaps Agassi is just upset at the person who handed him his first lose and does not want to admit it was anything other than another kid being better that day. A good, true person would take the high road. Not blame or create a story 30 years later.

  13. PJ Wagg on February 16, 2013 10:47 pm

    I have read many many autobiographies. Agassi’s book was outstanding. He didn’t write about scandal after scandal. He was as honest about himself (or more so since it was his life story) as he was about anyone else. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Shame on Tarango for cheating. It’s obvious that he did just as he’s had temper problems since then. Agassi didn’t pick on this guy, just read the book, you’ll see what I mean. Out of all of the autobiographies that I have read, this is by far one of the best. “Open” by Andre was interesting, funny, sad at times and I couldn’t put it down. For someone who only made it through the eighth grade, he wrote much better than most and dishing dirt was not was I was looking for or got. I haven’t read anything but this review by Mr. Pennington but I would be surprised if he told his life story any better than Mr. Agassi. The book was an Ace!

  14. PJ Wagg on February 16, 2013 11:15 pm

    I had not read any comments when I wrote my comments earlier. I have no dog in this fight, just how I feel after reading a good book. But now, after reading these comments, I have one question for Tarango. Why would you call the ball out during that 1980 tournament if there was a USTA umpire there? Wouldn’t the umpire be making the calls? As Agassi writes, at a tournament for 10 year olds, the players were expected to call their own shots so it makes no sense that a player would make the call and then have an umpire back up the call. The umpire would just call it to begin with. Tarango should keep quiet on this story and be glad that most don’t remember his name or character or some of the stunts that he’s pulled on the court since.

  15. Jeff NOT Tarango on September 3, 2013 7:43 pm

    Agassi is the biggest cheat ever in tennis, and starts his book by dwelling on supposedly losing on one line call from Jeff Tatango at age 10. A this ahole I the same guy that made his so called great comeback on PED’s and steroids. The real cheater, Andre! Think what any and every player that lost a close match, or any match to that cheating bum and lost a check, money as a result. No surprise he has almost friends from his playing days. He should be forced to give back all titles and prise money won while he was doping, cheating.

  16. Jeff NOT Tarango on September 3, 2013 8:05 pm

    Obviously PJ doesn’t know much about jr. Tournaments. Agassi is stretching the truth to say the least. Chair or roving umps don’t make the line calls, but they can overrule if it is obviously a bad call. Chair did not do so, and with many other spectators there, has any person ever brought up this so called bad line call. Andre still has not grown up. He just wanted sympathy at someone else’s expense, the story is bogus.


Resources & Links