“Open” by Andre Agassi...

From Las Vegas, Nevada, Andre Agassi grew up hating tennis. His father obsessed about it. He watched American soldiers play it in Iran as a child and served as a ball boy. He later boxed and never backed down from a fight, once knocking a fellow motorist out cold in a violent act of road rage. He also pointed a handgun at a driver, reaching across the young Andre with it and laughing afterwards, warning his son not to tell his mother. Andre’s father Mike forced Andre to eat, drink, and sleep tennis, even improvising a machine called the Dragon to spit tennis balls at him from on high forcing him to hit harder and earlier. Anyone who plays tennis knows about that horrible bounce that attacks your neck and makes you curse your feet. Mike’s plan was for Andre to hit 2,500 balls in a day which equates to nearly a million in a year. It was all about the tennis. Andre once tried to play soccer; his father appeared on the sideline in a rage and threw Andre’s gear at the coach. He was never allowed play soccer again. It was tennis, tennis, tennis! Andre Agassi hates tennis. People think he means he hates tennis today. But Agassi repeatedly insists: I hate tennis. The obvious question is, Why play it then? The reason is he can do nothing else because he was never allowed do anything else, like soccer. He knows nothing else. But it wasn’t his choice. His opinion never mattered. His father would have become enraged had Andre ever refused to play. Then came the rebellion. He wore a mohawk at tennis school and ran away at least once. Nick Bollettieri, his tennis mentor and nemesis for a time, tries...