Nov

18

A AI was planning to review Agassi's autobiography but he shows himself as such a loathsome character on every page that I don't wish to waste the time before finishing A Terrible Splendor, an excellent book by someone who doesn't know anything about tennis, but does tell some great anecdotes along the way, and evinces the pathos of Tilden and Von Cramm in a heartfelt way. I always thought that Agassi was a terrible sport, and a spoiled good-for-nothing and people would try to dissuade me and say he's changed — but I see my views were correct. I wish I could see as clearly to the bottom line in markets as I can in racket sports.

Charles Pennington responds:

It was an enjoyable book, and I like to watch him play, but it's true that almost everyone who comes up in the book, except for his current inner circle, gets panned in some way or another:

  1. Pete Sampras gives miserable tips to cabbies, luggage handlers, etc, and makes you feel like one of them when he wins.
  2. Michael Chang is sanctimonious, takes God to be on his side in his tennis matches.
  3. Jim Courier, after beating Agassi, went out for a jog to demonstrate that Agassi didn't even tire him out.
  4. Boris Becker blew kisses to Brooke Shields during his match with Agassi in order to tick him off.
  5. Brooke is superficial, talks only about things rather than ideas.
  6. Nick Bolletieri can't be taken seriously as a coach.
  7. Andre's dad tormented him with tennis.
  8. Jimmy Connors is a mean SOB, walks around like Julius Caesar.
  9. Andre's grandmother has a hideous wart on her nose.

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4 Comments so far

  1. Steve on November 19, 2009 3:53 am

    i wrote several weeks ago that it is interesting that so many autobiographies are being released in time for the holiday shopping season. Sarah Palin books are just flying off the shelves.

    I also find it so interesting that somehow we have a link between success in a particular venue such as sports and success in other aspects in life planted in our minds.

    As I enter my midlife crisis years, I have met individuals from all over the world, representing every conceivable race,religion, creed, education, financial situation political persuasion and any variable you wish to include. Invariably, they all carry their own “baggage” and personal shortcomings along with many “skeletons”. Therefore, I find nothing surprising anymore with respect to a persona and what they might be willing to do or say to sell a book. What I do find striking is why anyone would take the time to read such mindless dreck when there are so many other works of prose and poetry left unread. I would much rather read Don Quixote or Atlas Shrugged or Louis L’Amour or Larry McMurtry or Joyce Carol Oates or John Irving or the Bible than McKenzie Phillips, Agassi,Palin,Hogan, et.al. But as they say “Its a free world” at least in America and at least for the time being.

  2. Jeff on November 21, 2009 9:59 am

    As a former neighbor of Agassi(and Brooke for awhile), Chair’s description of him is extremely kind.

  3. jason gosnell on December 6, 2009 12:37 pm

    Unfortunately, most of the comments seem true. Truth hurts. If Sampras doesn't like it, he should leave bigger tips. His Dad was nuts. Becker blew kisses, Connors already has that rep.

    Nothing new really. I can't speak to the wart though.

  4. Marshall Jon Fisher on December 14, 2009 8:31 am

    I’m glad that you enjoyed my book A Terrible Splendor. But as a lifelong tournament tennis player and observer who also played college tennis, I’m very curious to know which passages in the book lead you to believe I don’t know anything about tennis. In any case, though, thanks for reading and mentioning the book.

    I haven’t read the Agassi book, but I will say one thing for Andre: for all his faults, at least he reads books. In fact, he chose his coauthor, Pulitzer Prize winner J.R. Moehringer, after reading his memoir. This is a welcome contrast to most professional athletes, including tennis players. In Pete Sampras’s book, which is as boring as you’d expect, he asserts that he hasn’t read a book in his entire life. Even Roger Federer, who seems to be quite intelligent, when asked what his favorite book was, responded, “I don’t read books.” So let’s at least give Agassi points for being a reader.

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