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Sun, July 21

Column: Agassi's book sheds light on highs, lows

Andre Agassi 's autobiography "OPEN" covers much more than his accomplishments on the court.

It's a tell-all that covers a surreal life as a tennis prodigy with a father who was hell-bent on producing a top player no matter the consequences.

If you can imagine a little boy who supposedly loved tennis saying, 'No one ever asked me if I wanted to play tennis', the bright picture suddenly turns dark.

By the age of 16 he had turned professional as a way to live life on his own with the only tools he really knew: a racquet and tennis balls.

As long as he did well, no one said too much about his questionable ways.

He learned about life on the road after dropping out of high school in the ninth grade.

To say he developed a love/hate relationship with the sport of tennis might be an understatement.

From 1986 until 1993 he was one of the most recognized players on the tour.

He had the flowing hair, wild outfits, and 'Image is everything' persona, but he'd never won a major.

With that, maybe the image the crowd saw, wasn't what it appeared to be off camera.

This book covers his drug use, life on tour, relationships with family, friends and coaches.

Something that also came out were his insecurities, and the alienation he felt.

It details his lowest lows and the highest highs.

From a rough start as a child and early tennis career to now retired former star.

There's talk about his marriage, his two healthy children and the impact his Andre Agassi Foundation has had in helping hundreds of disadvantaged youth learn that with education there is hope.

With all of that, it seems the light is bright once again for Agassi.

Some of his revelations have prompted many questions, namely why tarnish your reputation and maybe the reputations of many others as well as the sport of tennis?

If you need a therapist, go see a therapist. Isn't there enough dirty laundry in this world already?

But then on the other hand, maybe we need to step back and read the whole aspect of what Agassi has to say to understand the motive behind the words.

There's an interview this Sunday on "60 Minutes" with Andre and the book will be released Monday.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 35 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-445-1331 or


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