Excerpts from Andre Agassi’s new book have opened our eyes to a few things:
He hated tennis. He made a lot of money from it. He was very good at it. He sacrificed his body for it. He hated it. His father, Mike, gave him a racquet in the crib and drove him from there.
"If you hate the activity your stage mom or dad is pushing you to exceed at, get bad at it. Fake it if you need. Develop a re-occuring Charlie horse. Bend your pinky way, way back and, if you’re lucky, it might break."
Agassi, at the age of eight and nine, hustled older guys for money. Agassi’s dad, when he felt like the great Jim Brown had dissed him, pimped a $10,000 match between Brown and tiny nine-year-old Andre. It was only after the pro at the Las Vegas tennis club warned Brown not to take the bet that Brown saved his dough.
"Even a football hero, every now and then, needs to be taken down a peg or two, especially if the only way he can get his kicks is to play a recreational game for money. To be beaten by a tiny person one-third his weight needs to be written up in a book."
Agassi experimented with crystal meth and became hooked for over a year. He played and won tournaments while on meth. The first time he tried it he went on a cleaning frenzy, dusting, sweeping and scouring every surface of his house. Then he washed, dried and folded his clothes, dirty or not, all of them.
"A business idea we can’t believe somebody hasn’t already started, Maids on Meth. That’s what we’ll call our business: Maids on Meth–Twice the Clean in Half the Time. How’s this for an ad to attract employees “Join Maids on Meth and lose weight while working. Sleep and teeth are overrated.” "
Agassi was depressed while married to Brooke Shields. At the same time, Brooke Shields was depressed about her weight. How did they combat their depression? By placing a picture on the refrigerator of the ideal woman’s body–Steffi Graf. Brooke stuck the picture to the fridge and Andre straightened it. We also found out what tied Andre to both Brooke and Steffi was the fact they all shared domineering stage-mom parents.
"How in the world can you be depressed married to Brooke Shields? Secondly, how can you be married to a beautiful movie star and then not expect her to be in love scenes with other actors. That’s what beautiful movie stars do. It’s possible the meth wiped out Andre’s capacity for logic. On the other hand, when your gorgeous wife offers up a yet better body on your fridge, read the message."
There’s a scene in the book where Andre and Steffi’s dads finally meet. It’s vivid in the language barrier depiction of two strong sports dads doing a gesture frenzied and testosterone laden face-off. If you like books where lifelong liars spill all their hidden truths, read it.